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Remembering our Veterans
Veterans and their families supporting
other veterans and their communities.

Veterans Remembered is a site to honor servicemembers while creating a lasting legacy of support for
veterans in need in west-central Pennsylvania.

Eletha M. Burgoon

Eletha Burgoon
First Lieutenant US Army

Eletha was born in Bisbee, Arizona and was the daughter of Ross and Mary Burgoon. The family returned to Pennsylvania where Ross opened up a small grocery store that the family members operated for the next 75 years.

Nurse/ WWII Veteran – Eletha graduated from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Altoona in 1935. She worked in both the Altoona Hospital and the Spangler Hospital until she enlisted in the Army during WWII. She spent time in various military posts including Fort Picket and Fort Meade taking care of the wounded soldiers from that Great War. She was discharged from the military in 1946 as a 1st Lieutenant.

Community Doctor/ health care provider – In this day and age, one would not consider Ashville, a town in northern Cambria County,  a remote location. However, in the early 1950’s and for many decades later, Eletha served as the town doctor. Whatever your ailment or medical issue, you went and got treated by Eletha . She gave shots of penicillin for colds, bandaged arms, treated cuts, and payment was never asked.

First responder – Eletha was a first responder before it had a name. After her time in the military and her nursing career, she and her brother operated a grocery store. It happened to be next door to the Ashville Fire Station and Ambulance Service. Eletha, with her medical knowledge, completely oversaw the operation of the emergency ambulance service. She trained, kept the ambulance clean, stocked with supplies, and made every ambulance run regardless of the time or day. For probably over 25 years, this was her life, and countless lives were saved because she was there. Eletha had the knowledge, and skills, and she cared.

She never forgot those in harm’s way – During the decade of the 60’s during the Vietnam War virtually all of the young men of Ashville served in the military. Eletha, who provided them with medical treatment when they were youngsters, did not forget about them when they were old enough to serve in the military. Homemade fudge was the hoped-for package from Eletha, and you became the most popular soldier in the barracks when such a package arrived for you.

Eletha, also inspired others to learn skills in emergency medical care so that past her time, others would be there to serve the Ashville community. She also inspired a nephew to pursue this field. Jack Nagle became a medic in the US Army and served in Vietnam. In civilian life, he went back to college, received his nursing degree, and continued providing medical care until he retired.

Life devoted to others – Eletha was always taking care of others and was never married, but had many nieces and nephews that she looked over and provided loving care to.

Other awards and recognition
• People are Great
• Ashville Volunteer Fire Company Achievement Award
• Ashville Community Service Award
• Jefferson National Award – Named after Thomas Jefferson, for ordinary people who do extraordinary things without the expectation of recognition

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