By Michael P. Mauer
A Life Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid West Mifflin has been selected as the West Mifflin Citizen of the Year.
Gene Staudt, a retired financial services professional, is set to receive the award from West Mifflin Mayor Chris Kelly Sept. 10 at the Allegheny County Airport during the borough’s community day festivities. A replica of Staudt’s award plaque will be on display at the community’s borough building.
“My name is on the plaque, but this award isn’t about me,” said Staudt, a Vietnam veteran. “This is about all the good people here in West Mifflin who work to make this place a good community.”
At Holy Spirit Parish in West Mifflin and Saint Thomas A’ Becket Catholic Church in Jefferson Hills, Staudt is an active member of church music program and calls bingo for the Knights of Columbus. He also has organized local car cruises, as well as the annual West Mifflin Memorial Day service at Mitchell Paige Park.
“This is our fifth year, and we had 154 cars,” said Staudt about the recent car cruise at Holy Spirit Church. “I also have a classic car myself – a 2001 Mustang SVT Cobra convertible that I show.”
Staudt added that as a veteran, he takes pride in organizing military commemorative services for his community.
“I was very pleased when I was asked by Mayor Kelly to organize and plan West Mifflin’s Memorial Day service,” he said. “It was an honor for me, and I thank the Mayor and all the departments at the borough that assisted in getting this event together.”
Staudt deployed to Vietnam with the United States Army as a soldier in the 23rd Infantry Division. During combat operations, he served as an artilleryman, fire direction control specialist and a radio telephone operator. He was also attached during his tour to the 101st Airborne Division.
For his actions in Vietnam, Staudt earned the Bronze Star Medal. He was also awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
As a member of VFW Post 914, Staudt serves as chaplain and is the principal contact for bereavement ceremonies. He also leads prayer services at the weekly post meetings held at the Thompson Run Athletic Association on Ball Avenue in West Mifflin.
During post ceremonial events and parades, Staudt stands out with his distinctive Vietnam-era combat fatigues. He has marched with the post honor guard during many events, including the annual Veterans Day Parade in Pittsburgh.
Staudt is retired after working more than four decades for American General Insurance and PNC Bank. He has been married to his spouse, Linda, for 43 years. They have a son, Chris, daughter-in-law Valerie A. (Bahur) Staudt, and three grandchildren – Hannah, Joshua and Evan.