Senator Bob Casey was the featured speaker at a ceremony on Monday to rename the Ellwood City Post Office in honor of Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Leslie H. Sabo Jr.
The rain held off during the sunny ceremony at 11:30 a.m. yesterday in front of the Post Office. Members of Sabo’s family, various politicians and Ellwood locals gathered around to hear several guest speakers.
Sabo was killed in action in the Vietnam War and received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, for his actions during the Cambodian Campaign.
On May 10, 1970, Sabo’s platoon was attacked by the North Vietnamese Army in what would become known as the Mother’s Day Ambush. Sabo used himself to shield a wounded comrade from a grenade blast, absorbing serious wounds. He then attacked an enemy trench and helped an injured soldier to safety.
Although wounded, Sabo pressed on, retrieving rounds from fallen soldiers and providing cover fire for a helicopter, during which he was wounded several times. His last action was to silence an enemy bunker with a grenade.
Sabo was promoted to sergeant posthumously. However, his family was unaware of the circumstances of his death for many years. It would not be until April 16, 2012, that President Barrack Obama would award Sabo the Medal of Honor.
He is one of 257 soldiers awarded the medal for the Vietnam conflict and first to win the award from Lawrence County since the American Civil War.
Sabo’s recognition did not end there. Ellwood resident and Ledger journalist Eric Poole wrote Sabo’s biography, Company of Heroes, which was published by Osprey Publishing this March.
In addition to Casey, other guest speakers included Sam Teolis, USPS Western PA District Manager Jay Phelan, Lawrence County Commissioner Dan Vogler, Judge Dominick Motto, Sabo’s brother George Sabo and Sabo’s company commander James Waybright.
Mayor Anthony Court served as master of ceremonies, council member John Todorich sang the National Anthem, and Rev. R. Todd Custer gave the invocation and benediction.
Also attending were Sabo’s widow, Rose Sabo Brown, along with several family members. Two soldiers from Sabo’s platoon, Ben Currin and Norm Friend, traveled from North Carolina and Ohio.
County Comissioners Steve Craig and Robert Del Signore, District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa, Judge Melissa Amodie, and council members Brad Ovial and Marilyn Mancini all attended.
Due to budget negotiations, State Senator Elder Vogel and Representative Jaret Gibbons were unable to attend but sent staff members.