Green Speaks About Time With Peace Corps

September 20, 2016 at 3:11 PM


From left:  Jack Green, Leah Green, Society President Ruth Gregori with the championship jacket, Joe Vesnesky, and Karen Vesnesky.

          A story of travel with a chance to make a difference and the presentation of new items for the museum highlighted the 34th Annual Dinner of the DuBois Area Historical Society.

            Jack Green of DuBois was the guest speaker and talked about “My Life With the Peace Corps”. Green served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines from June 1962 until June 1964.

            Then senator and later President John Kennedy proposed the idea for the Peace Corps while Green was still as student at Notre Dame University. But, Green traces his attraction to the cause back to his time at St. Catherine’s High School in DuBois, when he and fellow forensics team partner, Joe Hassan, contrasted U.S. foreign aid, which provided money, and Russian aid, which included working with the people of the country.

            “We were young and idealistic,” said Green about the people who applied and were accepted into the Peace Corps. “Wejack_green.jpg thought we would change the world. I requested to go to the Philippines, because they were friendly.”

            Green joined 212 additional Peace Corps volunteers at San Jose State College in California for 10-weeks of training. Only 169 would eventually complete the training, which Green evaluated as insufficient for what they eventually needed to do.

            The shortcomings cropped up immediately when Green arrived in the Philippines using a dialect he had been taught that was not spoken where he was assigned. His first assignment was at a leprosarium on one of the lower islands. There, not familiar with the disease of leprosy, Green kept his distance even in basketball games against the patients. He also encountered a new diet – rice, fish, and seaweed – and watched his weight drop from 212 to 169 pounds.

            Eventually, Green was assigned to teach English as a second language. “I was in a one-room school with six grades,” he said. “Students started learning English in the third grade. I learned their language by working with them.”

            Green had many other experiences including a fishing trip involving dynamite; a request to fix a malfunctioning water pump, which he didn’t know how to do; carrying his own water and using kerosene lanterns; and surviving without information during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President Kennedy. His greatest honor came when a Filipino family named their new born baby in Green’s honor.

            In closing Green talked about another Filipino friend, who later visited the United States, married an American woman, and now has two successful sons. “He is like a brother to me,” said Green.

joe_vesnesky.jpg            A second DuBois native, Joe Vesnesky, was a special guest for the dinner. He presented a jacket from the 1951 Pennsylvania Champion VFW Teener League championship team to be displayed at the E. D. Reitz Museum. He also donated a program from a Pittsburgh Pirate-San Francisco Giants game autographed by Jim Duffalo. Duffalo was a pitcher for the 1951 championship team, who went on to a major league career with San Francisco and Cincinnati. Vesnesky, a Sandy Township High School graduate, played center field on the team and went on to a long teaching and coaching career at Glendale High School.

            During the brief business meeting the 2017 tentative budget was approved and the following elected to two year terms:  Tom Schott, second vice president; Gene Aravich, secretary; Jerry Watson, treasurer; Barbara Emmer, director of genealogy; Nancy Rosman, Winslow Township representative; Ken Wiser, Falls Creek representative; Jean Hayes, Bloom/Brady Township representative; Robin Powers, Huston Township representative; and Mary Reilly, Treasure Lake representative.

            Sixty-eight members and guests attended the dinner at Christ Lutheran Church, DuBois. Society President Ruth Gregori gave the welcome and farewell remarks. Revs. John Miller and Amy Godshall-Miller, pastors of Christ Lutheran Church, offered the invocation and the benediction. Catering by Paulette was the caterer for the dinner.

            Upcoming DuBois Area Historical Society events include:

            Oct. 8 – 9th Annual Spirit of DuBois Lantern Walk, “Our Spirit Arrives by Railroad”; first tour leaves the Best Western Conference Center at 5 p.m. Additional tours every 20 minutes. For reservations call 814-371-4627 between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

            Oct. 12 – Fundraiser with Italian Oven of DuBois. Print out a voucher at


Paul Sekula (left) holds an item Jack Green brought back from the Philippines.

Category: News