Butler VA Health Care System
Community Living Center Veteran Turns 100
Thursday, November 14, 2019This fall, WWII Veteran Sullivan, or “Sully” as he prefers to be called, Cherichetti celebrated a milestone at the Sgt. Joseph George Kusick Community Living Center with an abundance of family, friends, staff, volunteers and fellow Veterans. He celebrated his 100th birthday.
“I was honored to be there with Sully and his family to celebrate this very special occasion and to personally wish him a very happy 100th birthday,” states Sharon Coyle, Interim Director for the Butler VA. “Sully is also the first Veteran in the Community Living Center to celebrate this milestone, so his celebration was extra special for that reason as well.”
Originally from Dunbar, Pennsylvania, Cherichetti enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in September 1941 and was assigned to an Artillery Division. After the attack on Pearl Harbor later that same year, Cherichetti would spend the remainder of his military service fighting in the Asiatic and South Pacific theatre.
Discharged in 1945, Cherichetti remained in the Butler County area doing odd jobs. He moved his family to New Castle, Pennsylvania, in 1950 and settled into a career as a barber. A career he would enjoy for 35 years. Though he retired in 1985, he remained an active member within the community until his placement in the Community Living Center two years ago.
“What some people don’t know is that dad was a patient here long ago when this facility was called the Deshon General Hospital,” comments Paul Cherichetti. “He received his discharge from Deshon Hospital.” Cherichetti suffered hearing loss as a result of his work with the Artillery Division and was being treated at Deshon Hospital.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began construction on the Western Pennsylvania Tuberculosis Sanatorium in May 1938, but was delayed a year later due to budgetary restrictions. The Army Medical Department took over the hospital in October 1942 and the building was renamed the Deshon General Hospital. Deshon General Hospital served the Army as a general medical and surgical hospital, with a specialty center for soldiers with hearing impairments. The Hard of Hearing Section was one of three Army hearing centers in the U.S. during World War II. Following the conclusion of WWII, Deshon General Hospital closed June 1946. The Department of Veterans Affairs took over the facility a year later.
When asked about any goals beyond 100, Paul Cherichetti stated that his dad never thought he would make it this far. “His eyesight and hearing aren’t great anymore, but he still manages to participate in activities at the facility and enjoys getting out and meeting people.” His dad’s goal right now is to take one day at a time and spend as much of it with his family.