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More Than Hoops: Moniteau Girls Basketball Team Honors Veterans as Part of Wreaths Across America Day

WEST SUNBURY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — It’s a cold and dreary Saturday morning and Victoria Pry rises early from bed.

Usually, she and her teammates would be off to Moniteau girls basketball practice to hone their skills.

Not on this day.

This time, they head out to West Sunbury Union Cemetery for a different kind of activity.

One that is very close to Pry’s heart.

Moniteau participated in National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday to remember and honor veterans who served and fought for the country.

It’s difficult to find someone in Pry’s family who hasn’t served in the military. Her grandfathers, Gerald Pry and Michael Mine, served. Her great grandfather, Roscoe Mulvey, also served in World War II.

“I have a lot of uncles who also served,” said Pry, a senior at Moniteau High School. “So, my family is very big on veteran appreciation. My dad (George Pry) is the director of the Honor Flight Pittsburgh, so I volunteer there to help with veterans across our community.”

Pry, along with her sister, Allie, and cousin, Davina, got to place a wreath on the grave of Gerald Pry Saturday as part of Wreaths Across America.

(Davina Pry, Victoria Pry and Allie Pry lay wreaths on the grave of Gerald Pry)

“Getting to place a wreath for my grandfather,” Pry said, pausing, “that was a very emotional thing for me.”

She’s not alone. Just about every player and coach involved with the Moniteau girls basketball program has someone in their family who has served or is an active military member.

That’s one of the reasons why Moniteau girls basketball coach Dee Arblaster was happy she and her team participated in the event.

“The company that I work for is a federal contractor and they sent a message to us about Wreaths Across America,” Arblaster said. “(Assistant Coach Maura Pry’s dad) is a veteran. I told her this would be a great idea for us to do. A lot of our kids have veterans in their family. I have veterans in my family.”

The team also honored Moniteau graduate Luciano Plesakov, who is the only alum of the school who was killed in action. Plesakov, a Marine Corps Corporal, died in combat during the Vietnam War.

“We thought it was pretty special to be able to go and lay a wreath on his grave,” Arblaster said. “I think it’s important for these kids to learn about them. These are the people who died to allow us to be able to do the things we do.”

(Members of the Moniteau girls basketball team lay wreaths on the grave of Luciano Plesakov, the only graduate of Moniteau High School to be killed in action. Plesakov died in the Vietnam War)

Arblaster said the team bonded over the course of the day, which also included visits to grave sites at Concord Presbyterian Church and St. John’s United Methodist Church.

“Our girls had a great reaction,” Arblaster said. “Every player came. They are all very pro-community. Some of our girls do Honor Flight with George Pry. It was a good experience for the girls to see that and learn about that.”

Victoria Pry was also pleased with the day.

“We got to learn about Wreaths Across America. It was just unique to see the impact of what that organization has done,” Pry said. “We spent the entire morning with each other. It just shows that we’re willing to help out our community.

She said she and her teammates also gained a new appreciation for the men and women who fought for the freedoms they enjoy today.

“They fought for people they didn’t even know,” Pry said. “They cannot be thanked enough for what they did for all of us.”

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