DANSVILLE — History came to life in the Dansville High School Yorkers Club as the members talked about their trip to Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
The club members include Landon Titus, Herbert Thompson, Taylor Wheeler, Tim and Jacob O’Toole, Lydia Kruchlen, Alexis Patterson, Caleb and Rose Miller. DHS Yorkers Club Advisor Jan Pirrello talked about this being her last event with the group on June 11.
“All of them worked really hard on this project, and I am so proud of them,” she said. “I have been here for 40 years, and it has been a privilege working with the children.”
Pirrello said that this history club has been huge for the students. It takes them to another place other than music, sports, and tests.
“My hope for this club is that it continues,” she said. “I have really enjoyed being part of the Yorkers Club this year.”
Caleb Miller, DHS Yorkers Club president, gave an introduction to the presentations, and what it means for the group.
“We had this topic about how to describe the various modes of transportation, and how they made an impact on Dansville,” he said. “We have multimedia presentations that talk about our research, and what we discovered about transportation.”
Miller said that the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park was very exciting for the group, and it was an experience none of them will forget.
“Not everyone has ships donated by the government,” he said. “We had a chance to learn about each of their time in battle.”
All of the ships in this naval park have been turned into a museum all on its on, and veterans donate their time to talk about the ships that have significance to them.
The areas covered are World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and on. There is a list of what is inside each ship before you go in. The group learned of the tragic story that birthed the USS Sullivan involving five brothers who all perished on USS Juneau. They also visited USS Little Rock.
“Each veteran stationed on the ships told us the history,” Pirrello said. “We thanked them all for doing that. My favorite part of the whole trip by far was being able to talk to veterans who volunteer their time. We learned what they did in the war, and the history of each ship.”
There was a veteran who actually served on USS Little Rock who talked about the history of the ship. The only regret for the group was that they wanted to spend the whole day there, and only had a few hours.
The connection to the naval park and Dansville is a simple one … Foster Wheeler helped make the boilers on some of these ships.
“The year I graduated was the year they ended the draft for the Vietnam War,” Pirrello said. “It was awe inspiring for me to see them include all of the armed forces members lost in service. This wasn’t just about the past, but about the future as well. The war had a direct effect on me in Vietnam and Desert Storm. I lost friends at both.”
Jacob O’Toole talked about the history of boats, Kruchlen talked about the history of cars, Caleb Miller talked about the history of the Dansville Airport, Patterson talked about the history of trains, Tim O’Toole talked about the history of subways, Wheeler talked about horses, and Titus and Thompson talked about the Dansville Balloon Festival.
To learn more about the naval park visit http://buffalonavalpark.org