Each year the IC4 leadership committee selects one veteran to highlight whose story connects with the greater mission of the event and honors their service while acknowledging their struggles. Our featured heroes are listed below with this tribute being one way to honor their memories and remind all of us that the need is great but the hope is greater.
2023: Gilbert Andrew Rule
The invisible scars carried from war aren’t something specic to a generation. While it’s gone by different names over the years, PTSD has been with us a long time, and only recently has been something addressed outright. For this year’s IC4 featured hero, we take a moment to remember Gilbert Andrew Rule, a soldier, husband, father, and veteran whose story, while decades in the past, is as relevant as ever.
“My father, Gilbert Andrew Rule was born in 1925 and enlisted at age 17 (1942) in the Army Air Corps as a Gunsmith, Diesel Engineer and Camera Repairman/Equipment Maintenance for motion picture equipment. His plane was shot down in Germany and he spent the duration of his time in Stalas 17B in Braunau Gneikendorf near Krems, Austria until liberated in 1945. Upon his return he married my mother and they had me in 1947. His battle with PTSD slowly destroyed the man my mother grew up with, and unfortunately it ended their marriage and my relationship with him by the time I was 5 or 6 years old. While the few memories I have are treasured ones, he never really recovered. Over the years my uncles who grew up with him and remained in touch kept me updated often about how he donated his time to the VA hospitals at every opportunity to share his struggles. Ultimately, he lost his family and never was able to reconnect with us which was a struggle for me right up until he passed July of 1992. I always felt a sense of pride for my father and the price he was willing to pay for our country.” – Linda Schiltz
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2022: Specialist Scott Peterson
Scott Peterson passed away peaceably at home in Asheville, North Carolina on February 21, 2022. Scott graduated from Bowie High School in 1987, after which he joined the United States Army and served in the Infantry from January 1988 to July 1991 as an E-4, Specialist First Class. Scott enjoyed his years in the Army and became fond of spicy food during his deployment to the DMZ in South Korea.
Scott was a people-person who generously gave of himself to help others and never hesitated to help or lend a hand when a need arose. Scott was an avid reader and loved writing. He enjoyed Sci-Fi and action novels and was always working on his next novel. He loved music, especially techno and industrial and he played the saxophone in the Bowie HS band. He loved cats and usually kept one or two wherever he lived. Scott loved Coca-Cola and it seemed like he always had a 7-Eleven Big Gulp at his side. Scott often thought of becoming an EMT but circumstances always seemed to get in the way of that pursuit, nevertheless, he read as much as he could about diseases and treatments and could converse on a much higher level than the general population with his medical providers.
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2021: SGT Phillip Mario Abate “The Dude”
Phillip Mario “The Dude” Abate passed away recently at his mountain cabin home in North Carolina. Phil, 46, was the proud father to his loving daughter, Jacqueline, and a devoted son to his parents, Lenny and Sally. Phil was born January 30, 1974, and raised in Oil City, Pa. He attended the Oil City Schools and took classes at Clarion University before embarking on a fulfilling career in the military. Phil served more than eight years in the U.S. Army, starting with the Pennsylvania National Guard and then Active Duty where he achieved the rank of Sergeant.
Phil was born January 30, 1974, and raised in Oil City, Pa. He attended the Oil City Schools and took classes at Clarion University before embarking on a fulfilling career in the military. Phil served more than eight years in the U.S. Army, starting with the Pennsylvania National Guard and then Active Duty where he achieved the rank of Sergeant. While assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, Phil served three tours of duty in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he performed with great distinction and bravery and was awarded multiple citations for his actions in combat, including the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor. Though he never spoke of his heroic actions in combat, time and time again, his family would be made aware of his feats of bravery from fellow soldiers who witnessed them firsthand.