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 Post subject: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:52 pm
Posts: 5879
I sometimes post the thoughts of my high school coach, former Pittsburgh Steeler Bill Priatko. Below is a speech he gave to a senior group in Sewickley last Friday. Some of the assembled ignoramus assembled on this esteemed website will have little use for it. Others, if you take the time to read it, may find it powerful:

TALK TO SEWICKLEY SENIOR MEN’S GROUP AT SEWICKLEY YMCA-OCTOBER 20, 2017


IT IS SO NICE TO SEE ALL OF YOU STANDING FOR THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG AND SINGING OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM. I DIDN’T SEE ANY OF YOU KNEELING AND NOT STANDING WITH YOUR HAND OVER YOUR HEART. SOME OF THOSE NFL GUYS SHOULD BE HERE TO SEE THIS.

WE HAVE HEARD MANY TIMES, HAVEN’T WE, THAT OLD EXPRESSION,” THE THIRD TIME IS A CHARM.”
I AM HONORED TO BE HERE FOR THE THIRD TIME. PAUL COLLIER INVITED ME TO SPEAK HERE, TWELVE YEARS AGO AND THEN, TWO YEARS AGO. HOW MANY OF YOU WERE HERE TWELVE YEARS AGO? HOW MANY OF YOU WERE HERE, TWO YEARS AGO? WELL, IT WAS A JOY FOR ME TO BE HERE TWELVE YEARS AGO, A JOY TO HAVE BEEN HERE TWO YEARS AGO AND IT IS A JOY FOR ME TO BE HERE THIS MORNING. YOU ARE TO BE COMMENDED HAVING A FINE GROUP LIKE THIS, FOR THE GOOD WORK YOU DO IN SUPPORTING OTHER CAUSES. YOU ARE A CREDIT TO THE COMMUNITY.

THE DICTIONARY SPELLS OUT WHAT THE WORD GRATEFUL MEANS. IT SAYS, BEING THANKFUL, BEING APPRECIATIVE. CAN’T WE SAY THAT OUR COUNTRY TODAY FALLS SHORT OF BEING WHAT WE USE TO BE IN THE “ GOOD OLE DAYS.” ONE OF THE THINGS IN OUR COUNTRY THAT TAKES US FURTHER AWAY FROM THE GOOD OLE DAYS IS THAT MANY PEOPLE ARE NOT GRATEFUL. THERE IS A DEFINITE LACK OF GRATEFULNESS FROM EVERY CORNER OF OUR SOCIETY, AS INDIVUDUALS AND AS GROUPS. I WOULD LIKE TO CENTER MY THOUGHTS TO YOU THIS MORNING AS TO MY BEING PERSONALLY GRATEFUL.

I AM GRATEFUL THAT I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN THE TOWN OF NORTH BRADDOCK. I’M SURE MANY OF YOU FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT YOUR HOMETOWN. WE LEARNED AND WERE TAUGHT VALUES FROM OUR PARENTS AND IN OUR SCHOOLS. WE WERE TAUGHT TO BE RESPECTFUL TO OUR PARENTS, TO OUR ELDERS. WE WERE TAUGHT TO RESPECT PROPERTY, TO RESPECT AUTHORITY AND TO BE KIND TO OUR NEIGHBORS. I WAS GRATEFUL TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PLAY SPORTS IN SCHOOL, FOOTBALL, BASEBALL AND BASKETBALL AND TO PLAY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL, AT SCOTT HIGH SCHOOL, FOR A GREAT COACH JOHNNY REED. HE WAS NOT ONLY A GREAT COACH BUT A GREAT MAN WHO TAUGHT US SO MANY VALUES. HE WOULD TELL US, ‘”BOYS, YOU HAVE TO GRIT YOUR TEETH, NOT ONLY HERE ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD BUT IN LIFE WHEN THERE WILL BE TOUGH TIMES.” HE WOULD TELL US THAT HE LOVED TEACHING AND COACHING BUT HIS GREATEST LOVE WAS TEACHING SUNDAY SCHOOL AT HIS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN BRADDOCK”. I WAS GRATEFUL TO MY OLDEST BROTHER, JOHN WHO TALKED MY MOTHER IN TO LETTING ME PLAY FOOTBALL WHEN SHE DIDN’T WANT ME TO PLAY. MY DAD DIED WHEN I WAS SIX YEARS OLD, MY MOM WAS 29 WITH MY TWO BROTHERS AND TWO SISTERS WHO I AM GRATEFUL TO FOR THEIR LOVE AND HELPING TO PROVIDE A LOVING FAMILY. MY MOM NEVER REMARRIED AND WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR HER GREAT INFLUENCE ON OUR YEARS GROWING UP. I WELL REMEMBER MY MOTHER SITTING IN THE DINING ROOM, ALWAYS READING HER BIBLE. SHE SAID TO ME, ONE DAY WHEN SHE HELD HER BIBLE UP, “ BILLY, REMEMBER, THIS IS THE TRUTH AND NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.’’ I AM GRATEFUL FOR THAT, AS THE YEARS WENT ON, THOSE WORDS HELPED TO SUSTAIN ME.

AFTER MY HIGH SCHOOL YEARS, I WAS GRATEFUL TO THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH FOR OFFERING ME A FOOTBALL SCHOLARSHIP. THIS LED TO MY BEING GRATEFUL FOR A WONDERFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH MY TEAMMATES THAT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY. JUST THE OTHER DAY, I RECEIVED MY USUAL MONTHLY PHONE CALL FROM JOE SCHMIDT WHO WAS OUR PITT TEAM CAPTAIN WHO WENT ON TO BE INDUCTED TO THE COLLEGE AND PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME. I WAS GRATEFUL FOR BEING PART OF OUR TEAM THAT WENT TO SOUTH BEND TO BEAT AN UNDEFEATED NOTRE DAME TEAM, THAT WAS THEIR ONLY LOSS THAT SEASON. I WAS GRATEFUL TO BE SELECTED ALL-AMERICAN AND HONORED TO BE SELECTED TO THE UKRAINIAN ALL-AMERICAN TEAM. MY DAD AND MOM WERE UKRAINIAN, AS I AM. A HUMOROUS LITTLE SIDELIGHT ON THIS. ONE DAY I WAS CONVERSING WITH MIKE DITKA WHO IS UKRAINIAN. I SAID TO HIM THAT HE MADE ALL THE BIG ALL-AMERICAN TEAMS, ASSOCIATED PRESS, LOOK MAGAZINE, INTERNATIONAL NEWS SERVICE, ETC. BUT THAT HE DIDN’T MAKE THE BIG ONE, THE UKRAINIAN ALL-AMERICAN TEAM. MIKE SAID TO ME, ‘ ARE YOU ON THERE?” I SAID THAT I WAS AND HE SAID, “ HOW COME I ‘M NOT ON IT?” I SAID, “ YOU WEREN’T GOOD ENOUGH.” MIKE SCOWLED WITH THAT FAMOUS EXPRESSION OF HIS.
I WAS TRULY GRATEFUL THAT WHILE AT PITT, I JOINED THE AIR FORCE ROTC PROGRAM THAT LED TO FUTURE WONDERFUL EXPERIENCES IN MY LIFE.

MY BEING COMMISSIONED A SECOND LIEUTENANT LED TO MY HEART-FELT GRATITUDE OF SERVING IN THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE HONOR GUARD AND PRESIDENT EISENHOWER’S HONOR GUARD AT BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE IN WASHINGTON D. C. BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE WAS THE AIR FORCE’S REPRESENTATIVE FOOTBALL TEAM, AS THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY WAS STILL NOT ESTABLISHED. I WAS SENT TO BOLLING TO PLAY FOOTBALL BUT MY DUTY SSIGNMENT WAS AS AN HONOR GUARD LIEUTENANT INCLUDING BEING IN PRESIDENT EISENHOWER’S HONOR GUARD. OUR FOOTBALL TEAM WON THE NATIONAL SERVICE CHAMPIONSHIP WITH TEN OF OUR ELEVEN STARTERS ALREADY HAVING PLAYED A YEAR IN THE NFL. I WAS DOUBLY GRATEFUL TO HAVE BEEN A STARTER ON OUR CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM AND TO BE AN HONOR GUARD OFFICER. I WILL NEVER FORGET MY FOND MEMORIES PERFORMING AS OFFICER-IN-CHARGE OF AIR FORCE FUNERALS AT ARLINGTON CEMETERY. THE EMOTIONAL SOUND OF TAPS AND MARCHING IN FRONT OF MY TROOPS TO THE GRAVESITE, AFTER SERVICES AT THE ARLINGTON CHAPEL WITH OUR AIR FORCE BAND PLAYING “ ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS” WAS A MEMORABLE HEART-WARMING EPISODE FOR ME THAT OCCURRED HUNDREDS OF TIMES FOR ME, OVER MY TWO AND ONE HALF YEAR HONOR GUARD ASSIGNMENT. MY GRATEFULNESS EXTENDED TO MY HONOR GUARD DUTIES AT WASHINGTON NATIONAL AIRPORT. PRESIDNT EISENHOWER WOULD GREET INCOMING FOREIGN DIGNATARIES AS MY HONOR GUARD STOOD WITH OUR PRESIDENT. MANY TIMES, WHILE WAITING FOR THE INCOMING AIRCRAFT TO ARRIVE, PRESIDENT EISENHOWER WOULD TAKE THE TIME TO CHAT WITH ME SAYING, “ GOOD MORNING LIEUTENANT, HOW ARE YOU. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL MORNING ISN’T IT”.
I WOULD ALWAYS ANSWER, “YES SIR.” THIS GRATEFUL HONOR FOR ME CONTINUED WHEN PRESIDENT EISENHOWER SELECTED ME, IN A PHONE CALL TO OUR HONOR GUARD OFFICE, TO BE THE OFFICER-IN-CHARGE OF A 44 MAN ENLISTED MAN CORDON AROUND THE PRESIDENTIAL BOX AT HIS INAGURAL BALL AT THE MAYFLOWER HOTEL IN WASHINGTON D. C. AS THE BAND PLAYED “HAIL TO THE CHIEF”, AS HE WALKED IN WITH HIS WIFE, MAMIE AND I CALLED MY TROOPS TO ATTENTION, IT WAS A SCENE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET. I WAS GRATEFUL, TOO FOR AN ENJOYABLE EVENING WHERE I MET LAWRENCE WELK AND HIS ORCHESTRA AND FRED WARING AND HIS ORCHESTRA THAT MY WIFE TOLD ME LATER WAS ON NATIONWIDE TV. THIS GREAT HONOR GUARD DUTY AND PLAYING ON A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL TEAM WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED HAD I NOT HAVE JOINED AIR FORCE ROTC WHILE AT PITT. GOD LED ME TO ALL OF IT.

AFTER MY AIR FORCE TOUR AT BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, THE GREEN BAY PACKERS SIGNED ME TO A CONTRACT FOR $7500 AND A $500 BONUS. WOULD YOU BELIEVE ( THAT SHOWS THE SALARY DIFFERENCE TODAY) THAT MY $500 BONUS PAID FOR EVERY PENNY OF MY WEDDING. MY MOM AND HELEN’S MOM WERE WIDOWS AND COULDN’T AFFORD OUR WEDDING. WHEN MY MOM SAW THE BONUS CHECK, SHE SAID, “ BILLY, I HAVE NEVER SEEN THAT MUCH MONEY ON A CHECK, IN MY LIFE.” THE MEAL FOR OUR WEDDING COST $1.25 A PERSON. WE GOT A FIVE PIECE POLISH BAND FROM BRADDOCK FOR $25. WE RENTED A HALL FOR $20. THE DRINKS COST US $50. OUR HONEYMOON TO VIRGINIA BEACH WAS PAID FOR BY THE REMAINDER OF MY BONUS MONEY. IT WAS $500 OF TRUE GRATEFULNESS. TO SHOW AN EVEN ADDED DIFFERENCE IN THE SALARIES THEN AND NOW, PAUL HORNING WAS THE NUMBER ONE DRAFT CHOICE IN ALL OF THE NFL THAT YEAR AND THE HEISMAN AWARD WINNER. PAUL SIGNED WITH GREEN BAY FOR A $12,00O CONTRACT AND A $2,000 BONUS.
I WAS SO GRATEFUL FOR THE TIME I SPENT AT GREEN BAY AND FOR THE TEAMMATE RELATIONSHIPS THAT LAST TO THIS DAY. BART STARR AND BOB SKORONSKI AND OTHERS ARE LIFELONG FRIENDS. I WAS EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO HAVE MADE THE GREEN BAY TEAM, AS A ROOKIE, AS SHORT LIVED AS IT WAS. AS THE REGULAR SEASON WAS UNDERWAY, AN ALL-PRO LINEBACKER WHO HAD A SIX MONTH ARMY NATIONAL GUARD TOUR WAS NOT DUE OUT UNTIL JANUARY BUT THEY LET HIM OUT EARLY IN SEPTEMBER AND HE CHECKED IN WITH THE PACKERS. THE PACKERS WERE GOING TO PUT ME ON THE “TAXI SQUAD” ( NOW CALLED THE PRACTICE SQUAD) I HAD TO CLEAR WAIVERS BUT BUDDY PARKER AND THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS PICKED ME UP AND I WAS ELATED AND GRATEFUL TO BE ABLE TO PLAY IN MY HOMETOWN. IT WAS ENJOYABLE TO NOW BE TEAMMATES WITH MY HOMETOWN HERO, FRAN ROGEL AND WITH RICHIE MCCABE, ERNIE STAUTNER, JACK BUTLER, ELBIE NICKEL, GEORGE TARASOVIC, JOHN REGER AND OTHERS. NOTHING CREATED MORE GRATEFULNESS THAN PUTTING ON THE BLACK’N GOLD AND PLAYING FOR A WONDERFUL MAN, ART ROONEY, SR. “ THE CHIEF.” HOW ABOUT THIS FOR MY STEELER SALARY!!! BECAUSE I CAME TO THE STEELERS AFTER THE SEASON STARTED, MY SALARY WAS PRO-RATED PER GAME. I MADE $416.66 PER GAME. HOW MANY GUYS TODAY WOULD PLAY FOR THAT SALARY. I WAS GRATEFUL JUST TO BE PLAYING IN THE NFL AND IN MY HOMETOWN. WORDS ARE INADEQUATE TO SAY HOW GRATEFUL I WAS ON THE WEEKEND OF NOVMBER 12, 2012. ON THAT WEEKEND, AT THE BALTIMORE RAVEN GAME AT HEINZ FIELD, THE STEELERS COMMERATED 80 YEARS OF STEELER FOOTBALL WITH A HUGHE SATURDAY NIGHT BANQUET WHEN 19 FORMER STEELERS WERE SELECTED TO REPRESENT THE STEELERS FOR THE EVENT. I WAS BLESSED TO BE SELECTED TO REPRESENT THE 1950’S. TEN OF US WERE SELECTED TO SPEAK AT THE BANQUET AND AFTER MY TALK, I WAS GIVEN A STANDING OVATION. I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND WHY BUT POSSIBLY IT WAS BECAUSE I ENDED MY TALK BY SAYING, “ WE DIDN’T MAKE THE MONEY THEY MAKE TODAY BUT MY GREATEST HONOR WAS TO PUT ON THE BLACK’N GOLD AND PLAY FOR A WONDERFUL MAN, ART ROONEY SR., “ THE CHIEF.” AT THE RAVEN GAME, THE NEXT NIGHT, AT HALFTIME, THEY INTRODUCED US AND BEFORE GOING ON THE FIELD, A PHOTO OF ALL OF US WITH DAN ROONEY WAS TAKEN IN THE LOCKER ROOM. I WAS GRATEFUL WHEN JOE GREENE SAID HE WANTED ME TO SIT NEXT TO HIM. I KIDDED HIM AND SAID, “WHY JOE, BECAUSE I AM THE OLDEST.”
HE WANTED ME TO SIT NEXT TO HIM BECAUSE JOE FELT THE SAME WAY TOWARD “THE CHIEF” AS I HAD EXPRESSED IN MY TALK. THE STEELERS HAVE BEEN GOOD TO ME AND I AM VERY GRATEFUL.

THERE ARE TIMES IN OUR LIFE WHEN OUR PATH IN LIFE LEADS US TO SOMETHING THATY WE NEVER EVER THOUGHT COULD HAPPEN. A YEAR AFTER MY STEELER JOYS, ON A SUNDAY AFTER NOON, IN FEBRUARY, I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL, AT MY HOUSE, FROM PAUL BROWN THE CLEVELAND BROWN COACH. HE INDICATED HE WANTED TO SIGN ME TO PLAY WITH THE BROWNS. I NEVER EVER THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF PLAYING FOR PAUL BROWN. I SIGNED A CONTRACT FOR $7500. I WELL REMEMBER IN MY SECOND YEAR AT CLEVELAND, I SAT IN HIS OFFICE AT CLEVELAND STADIUM, IN THE OFF-SEASON TO DISCUSS MY CONTRACT. ( NO AGENT IN THOSE DAYS, WE TALKED FACE TO FACE) HE SAID TO ME STRAIGHT FORWARDLY, AS WAS ALWAYS HIS DEMEANOR AND SAID TO ME, “ YOU GOT $7500 LAST YEAR, YOU’LL GET $8,000 THIS YEAR.” I SAID TO MYSELF, THAT’S A $500 RAISE. I BETTER SIGN BEFORE HE CHANGES HIS MIND. WHEN YOU COME FROM NORTH BRADDOCK, $500 IS A LOT OF MONEY. PAUL BROWN WOULD ALWAYS SAY TO THE TEAM, “ YOU HAVE TO MADE OF THE FIRMER STUFF.” JUST AS I REMEMBERED THE WORDS OF MY HIGH SCHOOL COACH, JOHNNY REED WHEN HE WOULD TELL US, “ YOU HAVE TO GRIT YOUR TEETH”, THOSE TWO EXPRESSIONS FROM TWO GREAT COACHES STAYED WITH ME THROUGHOUT MY LIFE. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THOSE TWO EXPRESSIONS THAT HAVE HELPED ME TO DEVELOP MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY, NEXT TO OUR GOOD LORD WHO GIVES US TOTAL STRENGTH. I WAS GRATEFUL TO HAVE CLEVELAND BROWN TEAMMATES SUCH AS JIMMY BROWN, BOBBY MITCHELL, MIKE MCCORMACK, LOU GROZA, ALL HALL OF FAME MEN AND TWO MEN WHO BECAME LIFE LONG FRIENDS, CHUCK NOLL AND MY BEST FRIEND, TO THIS DAY, DICK LEBEAU.

FROM THE WORLD OF FOOTBLL TO THE GAME OF LIFE, THERE WERE TWO VERY SIGNIFICANT EPISODES IN MY LIFE THAT CREATED IN ME THE DEEPEST SENSE OF GRATEFULNESS THAT INVVOLVED TWO SOLDIERS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR OUR COUNTRY. I WISH THAT SOME OF THOSE NFL GUYS WHO SHOWED DISRESPECT TO OUR FLAG AND NATIONAL ANTHEM WOULD HAVE BEEN A PART OF THESE TWO EPISODES.

I WAS A YOUNG BOY GROWING UP ON GRANT STREET IN NORTH BRADDOCK, IN THE MIDDLE OF WORLD WAR II. WE WOULD PLAY COMPETITIVE BASKETBALL GAMES ON THE STREET CORNER AGAINST BOYS FROM OTHER STREETS IN FIRST WARD, NORTH BRADDOCK. ONE DAY, WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF A BIG GAME BETWEEN GRANT STREET AND BRINTON AVENUE. EVERYBODY ON OUR STREET KNEW WHO THE MEN WERE FIGHTING IN THE WAR, BOTH IN EUROPE AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC. IT WAS A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ALL OF THE FAMILIES WITH PRAYERS, CONCERN AND SUPPORT FOR ONE ANOTHER. JUST AS WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR HARD PLAYED BASKETBALL GAME WE SAW A CAR PULL UP IN FRONT OF THE KORBEL HOUSE,TWENTY YARDS FROM OUR GAME. FRANKIE KORBEL, WE KNEW WAS AN 18 YEAR OLD MARINE FIGHTING IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS, IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC. OUT OF THE CAR STEPPED OUT A FULL DRESSED MARINE AND KNOCKED ON MRS. KORBEL’S DOOR. MRS. KORBEL WAS OF SLOVAK DESCENT, A VERY HUMBLE AND COMPASSIONATE WOMAN. WHEN WE SAW THE FULL DRESSED MARINE, WE ALL STOPPED PLAYING OUR BASKETBALL GAME AND STOOD IN FROZEN SILENCE. WE KNEW WHAT THIS MEANT. THE MARINE WAS COMING WITH THE TOUGH JOB OF TELLING HER THAT HER FRANKIE WAS KILLED IN ACTION IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS. AS THE MARINE FACED MRS. KORBEL’S OPEN DOOR, WE COULDN’T HEAR WHAT THE MARINE SAID BUT WE COULD HEAR A SHRIEKING, TEARFUL MRS. KORBEL YELL, “ OH NO, DEAR GOD, NOT MY FRANKIE, NOT MY FRANKIE,” AS THE TEARS FLOWED FROM OUR GRIEF-STRICKEN EYES, THAT EMOTIONAL SCENE WILL NEVER LEAVE MY MIND AND AT THAT VERY MOMENT, FROM THAT DAY ON, I KNEW THAT SOME DAY I WANTED TO SERVE MY COUNTRY. TO WITNESS A GRIEVING MOTHER WITH ANQUISH OVER THE DEATH OF HER MARINE SON KILLED IN ACTION WHILE SERVING HIS COUNTRY FILLS YOUR HEART WITH GRATEFULNESS.

DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE KORBEL HOUSE IS THE OLSON HOUSE, A WONDERFUL FAMILY AND NEIGHBOR. PAUL AND FRANKIE KORBEL GREW UP TOGETHER ON GRANT STREET AND WERE GOOD FRIENDS. PAUL OLSON, A MEMBER OF THIS FINE FAMILY SERVED IN THE ARMY DURING WORLD WAR II, IN THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE AND OTHER WAR THEATRES. IN THE MID-1950’S, PAUL, AFTER EIGHT YEARS WAS STILL IN THE ARMY. IN MAY, 1950, PAUL CAME HOME ON LEAVE AND HAD TO MAKE A DECIION ON WHETHER TO RE-ENLIST OR TAKE A JOB IN THE BRADDOCK POST OFFICE. HE AND I WERE SITTING ON A CURB, IN FRONT OF HIS HOUSE WHEN HE TOLD ME BOUT HIS DECISION. AT THAT TIME, THREE OF HIS NEIGHBOR FRIENDS WHO ALL WERE VETERANS OF WORLD WAR II WALKED UP AND LISTENED TO PAUL TALKING ABOUT HIS DECISION. THE THREE OF THEM SAID TO PAUL, “ WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO RE-ENLIST, YOU FOUGHT IN THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE, YOU MADE IT AND NOW THERE ARE RUMORS OF A WAR STARTING IN KOREA. IF THAT HAPPENS WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO RE-ENLIST.” PAUL ANSWERED AND SAID, “ IF THAT HAPPENS, I WOULD GO, I AM A SOLDIER.” WELL, PAUL MADE THE DECISION TO RE-ENLIST. AFTER FURTHER TRAINING AT FT. LEWIS, WASHINGTON, PAUL WAS SENT TO KOREA. IN THE FIRST WEEK OF THE WAR, PAUL WAS KILLED IN ACTION. THEY BROUGHT HIS FLAG DRAPED CASKET BACK TO NORTH BRADDOCK WHERE SERVICES WERE HELD IN A SMALL METHODIST CHURCH. THE CEMETERY WAS OVER A MILE FROM THE CHURCH. SIX OF HIS GRANT STREET WORLD WAR II FRIENDS CARRIED PAUL’S CASKET TO THE CEMETERY WITHOUT STOPPING OUT OF RESPECT FOR THEIR DEAR SOLDIER FRIEND. I AM SO GRATEFUL TO THE OLSON FAMILY WHO GAVE ME THE FLAG FROM PAUL’S CASKET. EVERY YEAR, OUT OF RESPECT FOR PAUL’S MEMORY, I FLY THE FLAG ON MY LAWN FLAGPOLE ON MEMORIAL DAY.

MY SON, A WEST POINT GRAD WAS STATIONED IN KOREA IN 2000, THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE KOREAN WAR. MY WIFE AND I WENT TO KOREA THAT YEAR TO VISIT WITH DAVID. I ASKED DAVID IF IT WERE POSSIBLE THROUGH HIS SOUTH KOREAN FRIENDS TO TAKE ME TO THE SITE WHERE PAUL WAS KILLED. THROUGH COMPUTERS AND HELP FROM HIS SOUTH KOREAN ARMY FRIEND WHO SPOKE ENGLISH AND TWO OTHER NORTH KOREANS WHO WERE “ COMMISSIONERS” IN THAT AREA, THEY PINPOINTED EXACTLY WHERE PAUL WAS KILLED. HE WAS KILLED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT HAVING ONLY A HANDFUL OF HIS TROOPS AGAINST HUNDREDS OF NORTH KOREANS WHO CROSSED A RIVER, CAME UP THE HILLSIDE WHERE PAUL AND HIS TROOPS WERE ENTRENCED. PAUL AND HIS SCANT TROOPS FOUGHT VALIANTLY AND ENGAGED IN HAND TO HAND BAYONET FIGHTING AND PAUL WAS OVER POWERED AND BAYONETTED TO DEATH. I HAD A CONTAINER AND SCOOPED UP A GOOD AMOUNT OF DIRT FROM THE EXACT SPOT WHERE PAUL WAS KILLED. I BROUGHT THIS DIRT WITH ME BACK HOME AND WITH MY TWO BROTHERS, WE DUG A HOLE IN PAUL OLSON’S GRAVE AT THE BRADDOCK CEMETERY IN NORTH BADDOCK AND PUT THE DIRT FROM THAT KOREAN HILLSIDE WHERE PAUL WAS KILLED IN TO PAUL’S GRAVE IN PAUL’S HOMETOWN WHERE HE WAS BORN AND RAISED.

AFTER DAVID’S KOREAN FRINDS TOOK ME TO THAT KOREAN HILLSIDE, DAVID’S THREE SOUTH KOREAN FRIENDS, WANTED DAVE AND I TO HAVE LUNCH WITH THEM IN A SMALL KOREAN TOWN. WHILE EATING OUR “MEAL OF FRIENDSHIP” I SAID TO THE INTERPRETER, THE SOUTH KOREAN SOLDIER, TELL YOUR TWO FRIENDS THAT I AM GRATEFUL TO THEM FOR TAKING ME TO WHERE PAUL WAS KILLED.” THROUGH THE INTERPRETER, THE TWO SOUTH KOREAN “COMMISIONERS” SAID, “ WE THANK YOUR FRIEND, PAUL OLSON WHO GAVE HIS LIFE SO THAT WE MAY HAVE FREEDOM.” THE SLOGAN THROUGHOUT SOUTH KOREA TO THIS DAY IS “ FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.” THAT IS A TRUE EXAMPLE OF GRATEFULNESS.

I’M SURE THAT YOU CAN WELL SEE AND UNDERSTAND THE DEEP SIGNIFICANCE OF WHY I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY LIFETIME RELATIONSHIPS AND EPISODES. AS GRATEFUL AS I AM FOR ALL OF THIS, I CLING EVERYDAY TO MY TWO MOST IMPORTANT REASONS FOR GRATITUDE, IN MY LIFE.
OH HOW GRATEFUL I AM FOR MY FAMILY, MY TWO DAUGHTERS, DEBBIE AND KATHY AND MY TWO SONS, DAVID AND DAN AND MOST CERTAINLY MY LATE WIFE, HELEN. HELEN WAS OUR SAINT, A WONDERFUL MOM AND WIFE AND WE ALL MISS HER DEARLY. WE LOOK TO THAT BEAUTIFUL DAY, WHEN WE ARE ALL TOGETHER AGAIN, IN PARADISE. THERE CAN BE NO MORE GRATEFULNESS IN A FATHER’S HEART TO KNOW THAT HIS CHILDEN ARE CHRISTIANS WHO LOVE OUR LORD.

THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE MILITARY VETERANS CAN UNDERSTAND THE FEELING OF GRATEFULNESS THAT I HAVE FOR MY TWO SONS WHO ARE WEST POINT GRADUATES AND HAVE SERVED THEIR COUNTRY. DAN WAS AN AIRBORNE RANGER WHO NOW IS 100 PERCENT DISABLED FROM AN ACCIDENT WHILE SERVING IN THE ARMY. DAVID SERVED AS AN AIRBORNE INFANTRY OFFICER IN DESERT STORM WITH THE 101ST AIRBORNE AND THREE TOURS IN IRAQ WITH THE 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION. AFTER 24 YEARS OF SERVICE, DAVID RETIRED AS A LT. COLONEL AND NOW TEACHES JR. ARMY ROTC AT A HIGH SCHOOL IN NORTHERN GEORGIA . YOU CAN UNDERSTAND WHY I AM A GRATEFUL FATHER FOR A LOVING FAMILY.

THE GREATEST EPITOME FOR MY BEING GRATEFUL IS FOR MY LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST WHO GIVES ME HOPE AND STRENGTH, EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE. I BELIEVE WITH ALL OF MY HEART THAT BY BELIEVING IN HIM AND HIS WORD, WE WILL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE WITH HIM. FOR THIS, I WILL BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL.

IT WAS A JOY BEING HERE WITH YOU THIS MORNING. THANKS FOR LISTENING. FEEL FREE TO ASK ME ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY HAVE.


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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:55 pm
Posts: 1016
Converted from upper case to make it actually readable:


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Talk to sewickley senior men’s group at sewickley ymca-october 20, 2017


It is so nice to see all of you standing for the pledge of allegiance to the flag and singing our national anthem. I didn’t see any of you kneeling and not standing with your hand over your heart. Some of those nfl guys should be here to see this.

We have heard many times, haven’t we, that old expression,” the third time is a charm.”
I am honored to be here for the third time. Paul collier invited me to speak here, twelve years ago and then, two years ago. How many of you were here twelve years ago? How many of you were here, two years ago? Well, it was a joy for me to be here twelve years ago, a joy to have been here two years ago and it is a joy for me to be here this morning. You are to be commended having a fine group like this, for the good work you do in supporting other causes. You are a credit to the community.

The dictionary spells out what the word grateful means. It says, being thankful, being appreciative. Can’t we say that our country today falls short of being what we use to be in the “ good ole days.” one of the things in our country that takes us further away from the good ole days is that many people are not grateful. There is a definite lack of gratefulness from every corner of our society, as indivuduals and as groups. I would like to center my thoughts to you this morning as to my being personally grateful.

I am grateful that I was born and raised in the town of north braddock. I’m sure many of you feel that way about your hometown. We learned and were taught values from our parents and in our schools. We were taught to be respectful to our parents, to our elders. We were taught to respect property, to respect authority and to be kind to our neighbors. I was grateful to have been able to play sports in school, football, baseball and basketball and to play high school football, at scott high school, for a great coach johnny reed. He was not only a great coach but a great man who taught us so many values. He would tell us, ‘”boys, you have to grit your teeth, not only here on the football field but in life when there will be tough times.” he would tell us that he loved teaching and coaching but his greatest love was teaching sunday school at his presbyterian church in braddock”. I was grateful to my oldest brother, john who talked my mother in to letting me play football when she didn’t want me to play. My dad died when I was six years old, my mom was 29 with my two brothers and two sisters who I am grateful to for their love and helping to provide a loving family. My mom never remarried and we are grateful for her great influence on our years growing up. I well remember my mother sitting in the dining room, always reading her bible. She said to me, one day when she held her bible up, “ billy, remember, this is the truth and nothing else matters.’’ I am grateful for that, as the years went on, those words helped to sustain me.

After my high school years, I was grateful to the university of pittsburgh for offering me a football scholarship. This led to my being grateful for a wonderful relationship with my teammates that continues to this day. Just the other day, I received my usual monthly phone call from joe schmidt who was our pitt team captain who went on to be inducted to the college and pro football hall of fame. I was grateful for being part of our team that went to south bend to beat an undefeated notre dame team, that was their only loss that season. I was grateful to be selected all-american and honored to be selected to the ukrainian all-american team. My dad and mom were ukrainian, as I am. A humorous little sidelight on this. One day I was conversing with mike ditka who is ukrainian. I said to him that he made all the big all-american teams, associated press, look magazine, international news service, etc. But that he didn’t make the big one, the ukrainian all-american team. Mike said to me, ‘ are you on there?” I said that I was and he said, “ how come I ‘m not on it?” I said, “ you weren’t good enough.” mike scowled with that famous expression of his.
I was truly grateful that while at pitt, I joined the air force rotc program that led to future wonderful experiences in my life.

My being commissioned a second lieutenant led to my heart-felt gratitude of serving in the united states air force honor guard and president eisenhower’s honor guard at bolling air force base in washington d. C. Bolling air force base was the air force’s representative football team, as the air force academy was still not established. I was sent to bolling to play football but my duty ssignment was as an honor guard lieutenant including being in president eisenhower’s honor guard. Our football team won the national service championship with ten of our eleven starters already having played a year in the nfl. I was doubly grateful to have been a starter on our championship team and to be an honor guard officer. I will never forget my fond memories performing as officer-in-charge of air force funerals at arlington cemetery. The emotional sound of taps and marching in front of my troops to the gravesite, after services at the arlington chapel with our air force band playing “ onward christian soldiers” was a memorable heart-warming episode for me that occurred hundreds of times for me, over my two and one half year honor guard assignment. My gratefulness extended to my honor guard duties at washington national airport. Presidnt eisenhower would greet incoming foreign dignataries as my honor guard stood with our president. Many times, while waiting for the incoming aircraft to arrive, president eisenhower would take the time to chat with me saying, “ good morning lieutenant, how are you. It’s a beautiful morning isn’t it”.
I would always answer, “yes sir.” this grateful honor for me continued when president eisenhower selected me, in a phone call to our honor guard office, to be the officer-in-charge of a 44 man enlisted man cordon around the presidential box at his inagural ball at the mayflower hotel in washington d. C. As the band played “hail to the chief”, as he walked in with his wife, mamie and I called my troops to attention, it was a scene that I will never forget. I was grateful, too for an enjoyable evening where I met lawrence welk and his orchestra and fred waring and his orchestra that my wife told me later was on nationwide tv. This great honor guard duty and playing on a national championship football team would never have happened had I not have joined air force rotc while at pitt. God led me to all of it.

After my air force tour at bolling air force base, the green bay packers signed me to a contract for $7500 and a $500 bonus. Would you believe ( that shows the salary difference today) that my $500 bonus paid for every penny of my wedding. My mom and helen’s mom were widows and couldn’t afford our wedding. When my mom saw the bonus check, she said, “ billy, I have never seen that much money on a check, in my life.” the meal for our wedding cost $1.25 a person. We got a five piece polish band from braddock for $25. We rented a hall for $20. The drinks cost us $50. Our honeymoon to virginia beach was paid for by the remainder of my bonus money. It was $500 of true gratefulness. To show an even added difference in the salaries then and now, paul horning was the number one draft choice in all of the nfl that year and the heisman award winner. Paul signed with green bay for a $12,00o contract and a $2,000 bonus.
I was so grateful for the time I spent at green bay and for the teammate relationships that last to this day. Bart starr and bob skoronski and others are lifelong friends. I was extremely grateful to have made the green bay team, as a rookie, as short lived as it was. As the regular season was underway, an all-pro linebacker who had a six month army national guard tour was not due out until january but they let him out early in september and he checked in with the packers. The packers were going to put me on the “taxi squad” ( now called the practice squad) I had to clear waivers but buddy parker and the pittsburgh steelers picked me up and I was elated and grateful to be able to play in my hometown. It was enjoyable to now be teammates with my hometown hero, fran rogel and with richie mccabe, ernie stautner, jack butler, elbie nickel, george tarasovic, john reger and others. Nothing created more gratefulness than putting on the black’n gold and playing for a wonderful man, art rooney, sr. “ the chief.” how about this for my steeler salary!!! Because I came to the steelers after the season started, my salary was pro-rated per game. I made $416.66 per game. How many guys today would play for that salary. I was grateful just to be playing in the nfl and in my hometown. Words are inadequate to say how grateful I was on the weekend of novmber 12, 2012. On that weekend, at the baltimore raven game at heinz field, the steelers commerated 80 years of steeler football with a hughe saturday night banquet when 19 former steelers were selected to represent the steelers for the event. I was blessed to be selected to represent the 1950’s. Ten of us were selected to speak at the banquet and after my talk, I was given a standing ovation. I couldn’t understand why but possibly it was because I ended my talk by saying, “ we didn’t make the money they make today but my greatest honor was to put on the black’n gold and play for a wonderful man, art rooney sr., “ the chief.” at the raven game, the next night, at halftime, they introduced us and before going on the field, a photo of all of us with dan rooney was taken in the locker room. I was grateful when joe greene said he wanted me to sit next to him. I kidded him and said, “why joe, because I am the oldest.”
He wanted me to sit next to him because joe felt the same way toward “the chief” as I had expressed in my talk. The steelers have been good to me and I am very grateful.

There are times in our life when our path in life leads us to something thaty we never ever thought could happen. A year after my steeler joys, on a sunday after noon, in february, I received a phone call, at my house, from paul brown the cleveland brown coach. He indicated he wanted to sign me to play with the browns. I never ever thought I would have the privilege of playing for paul brown. I signed a contract for $7500. I well remember in my second year at cleveland, I sat in his office at cleveland stadium, in the off-season to discuss my contract. ( no agent in those days, we talked face to face) he said to me straight forwardly, as was always his demeanor and said to me, “ you got $7500 last year, you’ll get $8,000 this year.” I said to myself, that’s a $500 raise. I better sign before he changes his mind. When you come from north braddock, $500 is a lot of money. Paul brown would always say to the team, “ you have to made of the firmer stuff.” just as I remembered the words of my high school coach, johnny reed when he would tell us, “ you have to grit your teeth”, those two expressions from two great coaches stayed with me throughout my life. I am grateful for those two expressions that have helped me to develop mental toughness and to overcome adversity, next to our good lord who gives us total strength. I was grateful to have cleveland brown teammates such as jimmy brown, bobby mitchell, mike mccormack, lou groza, all hall of fame men and two men who became life long friends, chuck noll and my best friend, to this day, dick lebeau.

From the world of footbll to the game of life, there were two very significant episodes in my life that created in me the deepest sense of gratefulness that invvolved two soldiers who gave their lives for our country. I wish that some of those nfl guys who showed disrespect to our flag and national anthem would have been a part of these two episodes.

I was a young boy growing up on grant street in north braddock, in the middle of world war ii. We would play competitive basketball games on the street corner against boys from other streets in first ward, north braddock. One day, we were in the middle of a big game between grant street and brinton avenue. Everybody on our street knew who the men were fighting in the war, both in europe and the south pacific. It was a close relationship between all of the families with prayers, concern and support for one another. Just as we were in the middle of our hard played basketball game we saw a car pull up in front of the korbel house,twenty yards from our game. Frankie korbel, we knew was an 18 year old marine fighting in the solomon islands, in the south pacific. Out of the car stepped out a full dressed marine and knocked on mrs. Korbel’s door. Mrs. Korbel was of slovak descent, a very humble and compassionate woman. When we saw the full dressed marine, we all stopped playing our basketball game and stood in frozen silence. We knew what this meant. The marine was coming with the tough job of telling her that her frankie was killed in action in the solomon islands. As the marine faced mrs. Korbel’s open door, we couldn’t hear what the marine said but we could hear a shrieking, tearful mrs. Korbel yell, “ oh no, dear god, not my frankie, not my frankie,” as the tears flowed from our grief-stricken eyes, that emotional scene will never leave my mind and at that very moment, from that day on, I knew that some day I wanted to serve my country. To witness a grieving mother with anquish over the death of her marine son killed in action while serving his country fills your heart with gratefulness.

Directly across the street from the korbel house is the olson house, a wonderful family and neighbor. Paul and frankie korbel grew up together on grant street and were good friends. Paul olson, a member of this fine family served in the army during world war ii, in the battle of the bulge and other war theatres. In the mid-1950’s, paul, after eight years was still in the army. In may, 1950, paul came home on leave and had to make a deciion on whether to re-enlist or take a job in the braddock post office. He and I were sitting on a curb, in front of his house when he told me bout his decision. At that time, three of his neighbor friends who all were veterans of world war ii walked up and listened to paul talking about his decision. The three of them said to paul, “ why would you want to re-enlist, you fought in the battle of the bulge, you made it and now there are rumors of a war starting in korea. If that happens why would you want to re-enlist.” paul answered and said, “ if that happens, I would go, I am a soldier.” well, paul made the decision to re-enlist. After further training at ft. Lewis, washington, paul was sent to korea. In the first week of the war, paul was killed in action. They brought his flag draped casket back to north braddock where services were held in a small methodist church. The cemetery was over a mile from the church. Six of his grant street world war ii friends carried paul’s casket to the cemetery without stopping out of respect for their dear soldier friend. I am so grateful to the olson family who gave me the flag from paul’s casket. Every year, out of respect for paul’s memory, I fly the flag on my lawn flagpole on memorial day.

My son, a west point grad was stationed in korea in 2000, the 50th anniversary of the korean war. My wife and I went to korea that year to visit with david. I asked david if it were possible through his south korean friends to take me to the site where paul was killed. Through computers and help from his south korean army friend who spoke english and two other north koreans who were “ commissioners” in that area, they pinpointed exactly where paul was killed. He was killed in the middle of the night having only a handful of his troops against hundreds of north koreans who crossed a river, came up the hillside where paul and his troops were entrenced. Paul and his scant troops fought valiantly and engaged in hand to hand bayonet fighting and paul was over powered and bayonetted to death. I had a container and scooped up a good amount of dirt from the exact spot where paul was killed. I brought this dirt with me back home and with my two brothers, we dug a hole in paul olson’s grave at the braddock cemetery in north baddock and put the dirt from that korean hillside where paul was killed in to paul’s grave in paul’s hometown where he was born and raised.

After david’s korean frinds took me to that korean hillside, david’s three south korean friends, wanted dave and I to have lunch with them in a small korean town. While eating our “meal of friendship” I said to the interpreter, the south korean soldier, tell your two friends that I am grateful to them for taking me to where paul was killed.” through the interpreter, the two south korean “commisioners” said, “ we thank your friend, paul olson who gave his life so that we may have freedom.” the slogan throughout south korea to this day is “ freedom is not free.” that is a true example of gratefulness.

I’m sure that you can well see and understand the deep significance of why I am grateful for my lifetime relationships and episodes. As grateful as I am for all of this, I cling everyday to my two most important reasons for gratitude, in my life.
Oh how grateful I am for my family, my two daughters, debbie and kathy and my two sons, david and dan and most certainly my late wife, helen. Helen was our saint, a wonderful mom and wife and we all miss her dearly. We look to that beautiful day, when we are all together again, in paradise. There can be no more gratefulness in a father’s heart to know that his childen are christians who love our lord.

Those of you who are military veterans can understand the feeling of gratefulness that I have for my two sons who are west point graduates and have served their country. Dan was an airborne ranger who now is 100 percent disabled from an accident while serving in the army. David served as an airborne infantry officer in desert storm with the 101st airborne and three tours in iraq with the 3rd infantry division. After 24 years of service, david retired as a lt. Colonel and now teaches jr. Army rotc at a high school in northern georgia . You can understand why I am a grateful father for a loving family.

The greatest epitome for my being grateful is for my lord and savior, jesus christ who gives me hope and strength, every day of my life. I believe with all of my heart that by believing in him and his word, we will have eternal life with him. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

It was a joy being here with you this morning. Thanks for listening. Feel free to ask me any questions that you may have.



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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:18 pm 
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Thanks lipps. I'm posting from the road so I appreciate the help


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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:29 pm 
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Hey Lipps,

What program did you do that in?

Thanks Swiss.
Will read this later on

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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:40 pm 
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Stosh-67 wrote:
Hey Lipps,

What program did you do that in?

Thanks Swiss.
Will read this later on


Program? I sat here and did that all by hand!








Just kidding. Did a quick google search and found this: https://convertcase.net/


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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:47 pm 
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Thanks for posting Swiss. Great read.


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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:58 pm 
Coach Priatko seems like a good guy. Being grateful is commendable.


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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:00 pm 
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The stories of his neighborhood deaths should bring a tear to anyone's eyes.

Its very easy for a vast majority of the younger generations to take things for granted. Me included. If you don't live it, like Bill did and his neighbors, can you ever really have that level of understanding and gratefulness? I don't know if it's possible. I try though, that's the best you can do.

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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:00 pm 
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That was wonderful, thanks Swiss. Really awesome to read that.

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 Post subject: Re: From Coach Priatko
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:04 pm 
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Louis Lipps Service wrote:
Stosh-67 wrote:
Hey Lipps,

What program did you do that in?

Thanks Swiss.
Will read this later on


Program? I sat here and did that all by hand!










Just kidding. Did a quick google search and found this: https://convertcase.net/


You can also do it in word by highlighting and putting it into sentence case (to the right of the font box)

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