Posts Tagged ‘gettysburg documentary’

2014 A Year of Priceless Gifts

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

2014 A Year of Priceless Gifts

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Tony Mussari
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD 2014
All Rights Reserved

Lord we thank Thee…for the health, the work, the food and the bright skies that make our lives delightful. Robert Louis Stevenson

The words of one of the most beloved poets best explain theGroup gratitude Kitch and I have for the priceless gifts we received in 2014 from our friends and family.

The year began with a memorable event at the Gateway Theater in Gettysburg. Thanks to the the kindness of Robert Monahan, Jr., the screening of Four Days of Honor and Valor in Gettysburg was a perfect way to share the story of the Medal of Honor convention, the values associated with the Medal of Honor and the transformation of the students from North Plainfield, New Jersey who attended almost all of the convention events recorded in the documentary.

After the screening, we received this comment from a mother and grandmother who attended the screening:

IT REALLY SHOULD BE SHOWN TO THE SCHOOLS as the majority of the youth are not exposed to the humility, sincerity and dedication that you presented.


In March, we had the good fortune to participate in the Annual Ethics Conference at Marywood University. Organized by Dr. Murray Pyle and several of his colleagues at Marywood, it was a day of learning, and a priceless opportunity to make new friends and experience the beauty and the welcoming atmosphere of Kitch’s Alma Mater.

This is one of the transformational thoughts offered at the conference; There is no dichotomy between being a good person and being a success in business.

Dr. Murray Pyle “We thank you for the peace accorded us this day.”

On a beautiful march day, we traveled to Baltimore to attend the 15thIMG_5217aMJKD Annual Women in Maritime History Awards. Our friend, Mary Jane Norris was the honoree. During her acceptance speech she shared this thought: Do small things well, because they all add up.

Mary Jane we thank you for the gift of your example.

In April, Dr. Rex Dumdum, Jr. arranged a screening of Four Days of Honor and Valor in Gettysburg at Marywood University. He attended to all the details of the event including dinner, a reception an afterglow, and the technical matters that make or break an event of this IMG_5597A250nature. Rex made sure there were no anxious or stressful moments before, during and after the screening.

It was an evening of community, friendship and learning.

There were no limits placed on the Q&A session. That enabled students, teachers and visitors to provide invaluable feedback. That experience inspired one of the students in attendance, Amber E. Clifford, to write a heartfelt comment about the documentary:

“Four Days of honor and Valor in Gettysburg is truly inspiring to those who are struggling to do what they know is right.”

Thank you Rex. You give special meaning to the words of Anna Sewell: “Good People make good places.”

In April, we participated in the annual Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast at the McCann School of Business in Wilkes-Barre, PA. ELL_5857_1_250

The facility was perfect for the event.

The people from the school were very pleasant.

The room where the event was held was an excellent choice for the session.

The members of the Express Pros team were very friendly and willing to do whatever they could to make everyone feel right at home. Their kind and welcoming way reduced the normal anxiety levels that accompany a presentation of this nature.

On that day, we met three radian faces of America, Kathleen Nolan Barrett and Kathy Barrett, Jeff Doran

In May, Amy Clegg invited us to participate in an Express Business Solutions Seminar in Scranton. Jack Smalley, the Director of HR Learning Amy Jack2and Development for Express Employment Professionals, gave an informative and inspirational presentation about leadership.

These are but two of the thoughts he shared with his audience:

Leaders are responsible. They leave the excuses behind.

Effective leaders do not accommodate falling stars. They encourage and reward excellence!

Jack Smalley is a man who exemplifies professionalism with heart.

Thank you, Jack for giving us the strength to encounter that which is to come.

In May, we traveled to North Plainfield, New Jersey for two screenings of our documentary. These events were organized by Tom Mazur. The screeningScreening 1_3_IMG_8045 at the High School enabled us to experience the ways in which the documentary resonates with students.

The comments students shared with us after the screening made the long and demanding days and nights of location shooting and editing worthwhile.

The evening screening showed us that adults relate to the messages in the documentary in very positive ways.

This screening gave us an opportunity to celebrate the leadership of the MB_Gift_8179retiring superintendant of schools, Dr. Marilyn Birnbaum. Without her belief in our work, we would not have been able to do what we have done in North Plainfield since 2009. That work may be over, but the positive memories will live on forever.

Later in the year, we joined a delegation from North Plainfield in Atlantic City. There we screenedFour Days of Honor and Valor in Gettysburg for a small audience at the New Jersey School Boards Association Convention. That venue proved the accuracy of Seneca’s words: It is quality rather than quantity that matters.

Several times this year, we had an opportunity to celebrate quiet heroes who make our world a better place because of their acts of kindness andIMG_4437 consideration. Many of these people are associated with Geisinger/CMC in Scranton and Scranton Orthopaedic Specialists. Several articles in our blog record the competent and compassionate medical care Kitch received during her total knee replacement surgery.

To Dr. Harry Schmaltz and his team of caring professionals an adaptation of Stevenson’s words best records our gratitude. We thank you for the hope with which we expect tomorrow.

In 2014, both Kitch and I spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital for tests and procedures. In our blog, we expressed our thanks to the people who did their jobs without noise or notice in an excellent and humane way.

Judy Bob200_9229sm

In October, we visited with our friends at Wilkes University. This occasion gave an old teacher a new classroom, and an opportunity to work with an impressive group of students who wanted to learn something about character education.

If you are looking for excellence in education, you need look no further than the creative work of Judy and Bob Gardner and their colleagues. What they are doing to enhance learning opportunities for students in the Education Department at Wilkes University is impressive.

Thank you Judy and Bob for giving us an opportunity to help you with the important work you are doing.

A few weeks later, we traveled to Luzerne County Community toIMG_6231 participate in the Annual History Conference. This year Bill Kashatus invited us to partner with Mollie Marti to tell the story of the life and legacy of Judge Max Rosenn. To do this we produced a new version of the Windsor Park Story we broadcast about Judge Rosenn in 2004. It was a sentimental journey to one of our favorite places with one of the most impressive leaders we have ever met, Judge Max Rosenn.


In November, we drove to Binghamton, New York to celebrate the naturalization of two of our very favorite people Viola and Rex Dumdum. Sitting in the historic courtroom where the ceremony took place gave us a better understanding of what America and the blessing of American citizenship is all about.

What a gift it was to welcome two magnificent citizens to America on their big day.

Perhaps the most challenging work we did during the year took place during the early morning hours after we had attended to our other responsibilities.

In January, shortly after the screening in Gettysburg, Kitch and I began to work on a book for our grandchildren. Designed to be a legacy gift, it is a visual narrative. It combines images from our Face of America project and several documentary projects like our What IsIMG_8304 for Article America? Series and our Miracle Project with the life lessons we have learned navigating the bumps on the road of life.

During their Christmas visit we presented the book as a surprise gift to the grandchildren and their parents.

In a way, it closed the circle for us.

An adaptation of the words in Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem Morning Prayer enables us to give thanks for the blessings of 2014 and look ahead to the New Year with hope:

Lord we thank Thee for the place in which we dwell… the peace accorded us this day…for our friends…give us the strength to encounter that which will come in 2015…that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another.

Happy New Year!

Please provide feedback to:


A Standing O Event, Part 1

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Screening Walking Into the Light at Gettysburg in North Plainfield, New Jersey

Written by Kitch Loftus
Digital Photographs Tony Mussari
Copyright 2013
The Face of America Project
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

When four seventh grade girls appeared at the doors to theWITL_sign auditorium at 6 p.m. and said, “We’re here for the movie,” I knew it was going to be a perfect night. They were smiling and shy.  They proceeded to pick out their seats and settle in. It didn’t matter that they were 30 minutes early.  There were on a mission, and they would not be deterred or distracted.

For the next 30 minutes, people of all ages streamed in the doors, all in upbeat moods, eager to see a documentary about Gettysburg that featured ten students they called their own.

There was electricity in the air when Master of Ceremonies Tom Mazur, Supervisor of Arts at North Plainfield got the evening started with a brief welcome. Then, he introduced Nabil Twyman, a seventh grade student who quietly and confidently took his position at the  perfectly tuned Steinway Grand Piano to play two songs, “Red” and “Blue.” His mother’s face beamed with pride as she used her I-pad to record his masterful performance from her seat in then first row.

When Nabil’s nimble hands played the final notes, the young pianist received a rousing and well-IMG_3978_Nabildeserved round of applause. Everyone in the room was taken by Nabil’s gift. It was obvious that his future will be bright because his talent is enormous and his personality is humble and giving.

While Nabil walked to his seat in the front row next to his mother, Tom Mazur asked Dr. Marilyn Birnbaum,IMG_3985_MBSad Superintendent of Schools, to come to the stage to share her thoughts about the evening.  As always, Dr. Birnbaum was courteous, thoughtful and very welcoming. She is the perfect person for the position she holds in North Plainfield. She made everyone feel welcome and at home. The words she used to introduce Tony and the documentary were generous and very kind.

As Tony walked to the stage to talk about the production of Walking Into The Light At Gettysburg, I could feel my heart beating faster. I had some idea of what he was going to say, I had no idea about how it would be received.

IMG_3987_ speaking

Like his hero, Abraham Lincoln, my husband is an aural thinker. Before a big event, he will talk to me about what he intends to say. While he talks, he listens to the words and the concepts and he refines his message. Rarely does he use a printed document. He speaks best when he speaks from his heart. On this occasion he wanted the words to come straight from his heart. When the amplification system failed, he walked to the center of the stage, and he began to tell his story.

He told the audience why he wanted to produce this documentary.  It was a legacy piece for his brother who took him to Gettysburg when he was 15-years-old.  It was a centerpiece of his Face of America project, the three year ongoing search for the characteristics and the people who represent America at its best.  It was a gratitude piece for the students, teachers, administrators and support personnel in North Plainfield, a place he calls his second home. It was a living prayer for his son.

Tony believes that the people who make up the North Plainfield school system reflect the culture, the essence and the spirit of the Face of America on its best day. The richness of the diverse make up of the student body, the faculty and staff, and the sense of common purpose you feel when you are in North Plainfield energizes him and gives him hope that we can solve our problems in a peaceful way. 

He admires the philosophy that is recorded in motivational sayingsIMG_3971_sign_pride that are displayed on the walls of schools he visits. He enjoys working with the students in the way any effective teacher enjoys interacting with students. He wanted this documentary and the Gettysburg project he suggested to teachers and administrators to empower students to be their best. He does not believe anyone is entitled to anything without hard work and overcoming obstacles. That has been his life experience, and it remains so even today.

When Tony talked about his son it was all heart. “No one ever asked me why I came to North Plainfield,” Tony said. “Tonight, I would like to answer that question, because this may be my last opportunity to speak to you in this way.”

IMG_4038_ tony

Then he told the poignant story about his son. “In high school he was Mr. Everything. Today he is homeless, living on the streets, haunted by the demons that began to take over his life when he was in high school. He started out just like the ten wonderful students who traveled to the battlefield with him one year ago. “My son was gifted, intelligent, engaging, motivated and successful in all the ways that matter in high school. He was all state in soccer, a  leading field goal kicker in the state of Ohio, selected as a model, but underneath it all he was hurting and he turned to alcohol and gambling for relief.

“Today, those demons control his life and they impact my life in significant ways. I came here to engage you and to introduce you toLee_Wisdom Prudence values that will help you benefit from my experience. Everything in this film is designed to help you deal with the bumps in the road, to believe in  yourself and your dreams, to be able to see beyond the temptations and the temporary gratifications that entice people to take the easy way.”

Tony encouraged everyone in the audience to read the quotations displayed in the film, to listen with their eyes as well as their hearts to what General Robert E. Lee and President Abraham Lincoln say about failure, and to pay close attention to what the students learned about themselves during their visit to Gettysburg.

Just before he finished his remarks, he said something he has told me privately many times, “I love what I see in North Plainfield, because this is one of the best portraits of the Face of America on its best day.”

(To be continued in Part 2)

Please provide feedback to:

Gettysburg Documentary: Behind the Curtain

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Gettysburg: Behind the Curtain, A Downton Abbey Experience

Written by: Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by: Bill Gaydos & Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Picture of Highclere Castle courtesy of Jonjames1986(talk)
Copyright 2013 Face of America, Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

I came late to the table known as the MasterpieceHighclere_Castle[ Theater production of Downton Abbey. This hour-long program watched by millions of people on PBS  is in its third season.  The program gives the viewer an insight into the lifestyle of the English gentry and their servants in the early part of the twentieth century.

Why, you ask, are you reading about Downton Abbey when the topic is about the events leading up to the screening of "Walking Into the Light at Gettysburg?"

Well, the journey between April 2012, when ten students from the North Plainfield High School travelled to Gettysburg and the premiere of the hour-long film at the Visitor Center at the Gettysburg National Military Theater_0799_250Park in January 2013, can be likened to scenes from this year’s episodes, both upstairs with the Crawleys and below stairs with the servants.

Tony can play the parts of Robert, Earl of Grantham and Mr. Charles Carson, the household butler. As the earl, he knew what he wanted to do so the students would have the full experience of the history of the battle at Gettysburg in July 1863, during the Civil War, and that they did. Every moment was a learning experience from the introductory movie shown at the Visitor Center to the battlefield tour by a licensed guide.

A few wrinkles were ironed out quickly in his role as Mr. Carson and it could be called a just about perfect weekend.

The journey from April to January was a zigzag course that resembled the guest appearance by ShirleyStuwalk_9727_250 MacLaine who played Lady Mary’s mother, Martha Levinson, as she interacted with her English counterpart, Violet, the Dowager Countess expertly executed by Maggie Smith. Their interaction mimicked the logistics involved in making our film and then planning a successful screening because every move Martha Levinson made was not the right one in Violet’s eyes.

There were times when nothing seemed to be working out. Rooms were reserved at the Hampton Inn, but few had called to book them. The banquet plans were in place and ready to go when the event planner left for another position. A new person came on board, but confusion reigned about how to pay long distance and to whom. Always in the background was our worry about the weather, the technology and a hundred other details that demanded attention.

In the meantime, amongst the angst, a film had to be LOC Material_250put together.  It was necessary to find material that would flesh out the story of what happened at the battle to show how the students experienced it…but at no cost. You see, we had no budget for this project, no outside source of revenue to cover our expenses. It was similar to what the Earl of Grantham felt when he was told that his investments had failed, the family was broke and they would lose their beloved home.

Like Mr. Carson, Tony kept the lid on the problems and plowed ahead.

So he persisted day after day, night after night, week after week to find the right pictures that were free of copyright constraints and the right reenactment video footage that was graciously offered through the good offices of a new friend, Frank Orlando. The Library of Congress website and many others sites and the owner of the reenactment video became our benefactors as did Matthew Crawley when he offered the earl his inheritance to save his wife’s (Lady Mary) beloved Downton Abbey.

The logistics of getting everything accomplished,rStill grame footage when we were more than three hours away from Gettysburg and nearly three hours from North Plainfield, New Jersey, became a bit nightmarish at times.

Think Anna Bates not hearing from Mr. Bates when his letters from prison never made it to Downton because he fell out of favor with the right people.

As Christmas grew closer, movement by all parties slowed considerably and we wondered if anyone would attend. Anxiety levels rose, and we started to feel like Lady Edith at the altar when Sir Anthony Strallan told her he couldn’t go through with the wedding. But just as she rallied and found a new calling, there was troop movement.  Reservations on both fronts started to come in for the rwo events. It all started to fall into place, at least in Gettysburg.


There was a bus that would transport North Plainfield students, parents, friends and board members. All would have rooms and a seat at the banquet. All had been made ready by those behind the scenes, and it was smoothly executed by the time January 19 arrived.

It was going to be a happy reunion for many of those coming from five states to celebrate a new production.

Meanwhile back in Dallas, think Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson getting ready for a big event at the abbey.  It was Santa’s workshop but the Downton servants were missing…there were but two elves working feverishly to make sure the right presents were chosen. Mr. Carson, aka Tony, did the purchasing of the mementos that the students and others would receive. Mrs. Hughes, think Kitch, was the wrapper of various gifts, trying to label them properly and keep them organized.

And, as always, it came together beautifully. Thescreening_1132 guests arrived at the Visitor Center, the theater filled, the lights went down, the film filled the screen and at the end everyone was on their feet….the roar of applause, the sweet tears….a grand success.

Another successful event that begs for more.

Stepping beyond the analogy to the Downton Abbey series, it was indeed a wonderful time.

There were many highlights to the Gettysburg screening weekend. Of course, the best was seeing many long hard months that Tony put in producing, writing and editing the film pay off in the many wonderful comments and reviews about the work. He deserved every accolade.

Seeing old and cherished friends who traveled from near and far to be a part of the celebration was among the best memories.


Watching Julia and P.J., Tony’s delightful grandchildren, proudly escorted by their parents, Elena and Jeff, having a good time.

The standing ovation.

The proud looks on the students’ faces when they received their gifts and they talked about their transformation recorded in the documentary.  

Standing with Ellen and Jerry Mondlak, General and Mrs. Robert E. Lee, and Tom Mazur as they were thanked by Tony for all the contributions they made that caused it to be a successful evening.

The large delegation of our former students, their parents, wives, husbands and in one case fiancée who came to celebrate the moment with us.

The impeccable customer service we received from TimTim_1000_250 Johnson and Ann Costa at the Hampton Inn.  

The friendliness of Joe Spadolini, Tina Hare and support staff at the Eisenhower Inn and banquet facility.

The welcoming words of Mayor William Troxell and Stacey Fox at the screening, and Mayor Troxell’s surprise gifts for the elected officials from North Plainfield and Tony.

The encouragement and friendship of Mandy Moore, a person who represents the Gettysburg Foundation with dignity and class and the cooperation of her colleagues Debbie Joyner, Joe Corcoran and Michael Guinn who attended to all the details associated with screening the documentary in the Visitor Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park.

The spiritual words of Doug MacMillan’s grace before the dinner, the informative and inspiring words of Dr. Stephen Post’s speech and the beautiful reflection of Dr. Richard Loomis.


The spirit of community reflected in the joyful conversations people had with one another during our meet-and-greet session, at dinner and again at breakfast on Sunday morning.

The absolutely beautiful weather all weekend and in January no less!

We are indeed blessed, and we are very grateful for every moment.

Gettysburg Documentary Educates, Informs, Inspires

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Walking Into The Light At Gettysburg: A Review

Written by: Gale & Robert Jaeger
Photography: Bill Gaydos & Kitch Loftus-Mussari
January 19, 2013
Lenfest Theater, Visitor Center
Gettysburg National Military Park
Copyright 2013 Face of America, Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

On a recent bright and shining Saturday morning, weGNMP_0768_250 traveled from our home in Waverly PA to a most enchanting and inspiring place… the Gettysburg National Military Park.  Although it has been on our list of places to visit for many years, it was the first opportunity we have had to actually get there, and we were not in any way disappointed.

The purpose of our trip was to attend the premier of a production by Dr. Tony Mussari and his wife and able partner, Kitch Loftus Mussari. We knew that our travels would reward us with an exceptional experience and we were correct in our supposition. It was an evening we will long remember.


As we all assembled in the theater, having been warmly welcomed by Tony and Kitch, people prepared to settle down and see the show. Mr. Frank Orlando, a former public school principal clearly devoted to education and learning, was the master of ceremonies.  He and his wife, Bonnie, were attired in civil war costume and proceeded to act their roles while providing the audience with charming reflections and historical facts of the era.

Following the Orlandos was Mr. William Troxell, longOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA time mayor of Gettysburg. He gave some history of this historic town – really a lovely hamlet of sorts – and told of his many generations of relatives who had resided here before him.  He was most gracious in his welcome and made us all feel quite at home.


Ms. Stacy Fox, VP of Sales and Marketing, Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau, was exuberant in her discussion of the military park and all that it stands for in terms of American history.  It is easy to see why she holds the position she does!

Finally, just before the actual screening, Dr. Tony Mussari gave some reflections on why he and Kitch had decided to produce this documentary.

He spoke about visiting Gettysburg for the first time with his brother. Tony was 15 at the time and the experience, in his words,”changed his life.”

A part of the Face of America Project, Walking Into the Light is indeed enlightening. It educates us about the infamous Battle of Gettysburg. As important, as we view the monuments and battlefields through the lens of period photographs and renderings, we feel both the terror and the courage that these 161,000 soldiers must have experienced in this history making three day battle.

We were inspired and moved as the Battle Hymn of the Republic and other very moving music, well selected for this documentary, played in the background with footage of our great flag imposed across the screen, undulating in a stiff breeze. It was truly inspiring and our hearts were filled with pride for our new republic and for what it has become.

Central to this documentary was the presence of ten OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA students from North Plainfield High School in New Jersey. A diverse group, there was clearly one thing these students had very much in common: a thirst for knowledge and a true sense of astonishment and amazement at what they learned through this life changing experience – exactly what Tony and Kitch had hoped for.

Articulate and insightful beyond their years and life experiences, these students learned how much their forefathers sacrificed for our collective freedom. It caused them to do some critical thinking and express gratitude for all that they enjoy today. It clearly changed them in very real ways. We wondered how this experience might also move and inspire university level students who might come to Gettysburg with a higher level of understanding and perhaps see things that might have been lost on such young students. Clearly, people of all ages leave this place enriched and inclined to learn much more about our nation’s history during those Civil War years.


Also notable were the many comments made by General Robert E. Lee, so nicely interpreted by Frank Orlando.

While we never understood him as well as we did after hearing some of his “commentary,” we were reminded that even those whom we might disagree with ideologically, have something to say and, when given the opportunity, it is often something we can admire. We wondered what General Grant might have told us about and what memorable quotes we would have taken away from his commentary had he been a part of the proceedings!

And finally, the memorable quotes from President3a11366r Last portrai 300t Abraham Lincoln, a man who overcame so many obstacles to be a president who changed the world in so many ways, touched our hearts once again. Some were new to us, other we had known. All were words which are timeless and could have been spoken today with just as much meaning and power.

Iconic in today’s world for his many contributions, Lincoln was often misunderstood in his lifetime. One who understood him was T.V.Smith who said:

“This Lincoln, whom so many living friends and foes alike deemed foolish, hid bitterness in laughter, fed his sympathy on solitude, and met recurring disaster with whimsicality to muffle the murmur of a bleeding heart… and won through death what life disdains to bestow upon such simple souls –lasting peace and everlasting glory.”

While Lincoln and the soldiers who fought so valiantly at Gettysburg may not have provided for a lasting peace – perhaps humans are not capable of that –they did provide us with everlasting glory.

Gettysburg groupThank you Tony and Kitch for this extraordinary film and for all the expertise, insight and love that went into it.

Surely you changed the lives of many of us in your audience just as you changed the lives of your ten students, and just,Tony, as your own life was changed when you first visited Gettysburg many long years ago
with your beloved brother. He is surely proud of all that came of that visit and smiles on you today.

Godspeed to you and to all who helped to make this fine documentary a reality.

Gettysburg Gifts: Part 1

Friday, January 25th, 2013

The Illumined Gifts of a Teacher

Written by: Thomas A. Mazur, Supervisor: Fine, Practical & Performing Arts, North Plainfield School District, North Plainfield, New Jersey
Photographs by: Bill Gaydos & Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2013 Face of America, Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

A celebration followed the premier of Tony Mussari’sEisenhower Inn_350 documentary “Walking Into the Light at
Gettysburg” (1/19/13). It was held at the Eisenhower Hotel and Convention Center just outside Gettysburg.

It was an appropriate and characteristic occasion to augment Mussari’s artful film, which elicited a
rousing standing ovation at its emotional conclusion in the Lenfest Theater at the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Walking graphic_250“Walking Into the Light at Gettysburg” was such an uplifting experience, the opportunity to sit, break
bread and chat afterwards was a pleasantry, only to be surpassed by demonstrations of the values that
were offered in the film.

A highlight of the banquet was the address by Dr. Stephen Post, Director of the Center for Medical
Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University, New York.

Dr. Post is a man of many honors, awards and innovations. His address centered on the scientific evidence of the value of doing good, and its benefits to one’s health and well-being. At the conclusion of his talk, Dr. Post did not hide his best-selling book “The Hidden Gifts of Helping,” rather he gave it to everyone to take home as a gift.

Another rare and special highlight came when the MayorOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA of Gettysburg, William Troxell presented the key to his city to North Plainfield, New Jersey. The key was accepted by North Plainfield Board of Education Vice President, David Branan, Board member Thomas Kasper and North Plainfield Councilwoman, Mary Forbes.

The celebration concluded with a demonstration of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA of kindness as Tony and his wife, Kitch presented a
thoughtful gift to everyone who participated in the special occasion. It was characteristic of them to
“walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk.”

The old professor paced a larger than usual classroom,
modeling the values he seeks in others, accenting the positive with passion and humility, giving illumined gifts to those who love and support his leadership.

Dwight D. Eisenhower would have approved.

Gettysburg Gifts: Part 2, Mayor William Troxell

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Gettysburg Gifts, Part 2, Mayor William Troxell

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs, Kitch & Tony Mussari
Copyright 2013, Face of America, Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD.

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. Henry Ford

Three months ago, I had a coming together moment.Mayor_7854_250  It happened during the Medal of Honor flag raising in Lincoln Square in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Prior to the ceremony, I met and photographed Mayor William Troxell as he greeted people who came to participate in the ceremony. 

Last week, Kitch and I met with Mayor Troxell in his office. During that meeting we got to know the mayor up close and personal as some would say.

The Mayor is an engaging man, a good man, a kind man and a very interesting man. His family roots run deep into the soil of this historic town.  They were here during the American Revolution, and he and his brother have spent a good deal of time documenting the Troxell family tree.


When you are with the mayor you feel welcome and very comfortable.  That is a by-product of his humility. This is a man who is dedicated to service not debilitated by the false pride of power, prominence and influence. He is generous with his time, and he makes you feel welcome, wanted and valued.

His office is a museum of interesting artifacts of genealogy, and public service. When he learned about Kitch’s interest in her family history, he shared his experiences while compiling two manuscripts about his ancestors.

Then he took us to the Council Chamber, and heMayor5_7890_250 explained the origin and significance of the beautiful historical paintings that hang on every wall.

Kitch was taken by the huge painting of General Eisenhower. Her father served in Europe during World War II. She has spent many hours documenting his movement from Sicily to a liberated concentration camp in Germany.

I could not take my eyes off the unusual painting of Mayor4_7890_250Abraham Lincoln.  It is called the Blue Lincoln, and it has an intriguing quality of solemnity and sadness.

Before we left the municipal building, we discussed the protocol for the premiere of Walking Into The Light at Gettysburg and the banquet which would follow. The Mayor graciously accepted our invitation to welcome our guests at the screening, and he was a willing participant in a surprise we had planned for the elected officials from North Plainfield, New Jersey, who would be in attendance. He showed us the key to the city he would present to them, and he explained its symbolism.

Little did I know at the time, the mayor had a surprise of his own for Kitch and me.

It was so refreshing to work with Mayor Troxell.  HeKLMmayor_0925_250 did not play any power games. He was available, and enthusiastic about our film and the screening.  There were not filters or questions about the appropriateness of his attending the event. His staff did not make us jump through hoops to get a meeting with him.  He answered every e-mail. When we met, he affirmed our work, and he made us feel at home. I am convinced that we were treated no differently than any other person who would ask for his help.

On Saturday, January 19, Mayor Troxell and his wife became a part of our documentary family. There were no uncomfortable moments. They were there to help us, to enhance the experience for our guests and to do whatever they could do to represent Gettysburg in a warm and friendly manner.


Mayor Wiliam Troxell is accomplished in many ways; a celebrated high school athlete, a successful coach, a World War ll veteran, a respected member of his community and one of the longest serving mayors in Pennsylvania. These are all important elements in his resume, but in the end it is his kindness, his gentle spirit, his humility and his welcoming way that draws people to him and creates a bond of admiration, respect and gratitude.

Would that every leader in America had the innate gifts of leadership possessed by Mayor William Troxell.

Would that Gettysburg will have the able leadership of William Troxell for many years to come.

Thank You Mayor Troxell. You are a face of America on its best day, and we are in your debt.

Please provide feedback to: