The Messenger, Chester, WV
Oct. 28, 1998
Rivendale To Honor National Hero John Glenn
NEW CUMBERLAND – What does Senator/Astronaut John Glenn have in common with a Chester High School Graduate?
A program to honor Astronaut/Senator John Glenn and one of his boyhood school teachers will be held Thursday, October 29th at Rivendale Personal Care Home. Luncheon that day will be followed by personal greetings from Senator Glenn plus a space shuttle decorated cake, a video about Senator Glenn and the NASA Program, and a commendation from Muskingham College, Glenn’s alma mater.
Miss Zula Whitehill, a resident of Rivendale, was one of the Senator’s school teachers when he was a boy in New Concord, Ohio.
She taught him during her student teaching practicum while she was a student at Muskingham there.
Senator Glenn sent a personal letter to Miss Whitehill recently with greetings to the other Rivendale residents and to all area senior citizens. He expressed his respect for America’s teachers and his appreciation for the educators who taught and motivated him in his youth. In addition, the Muskingham College Alumni Association sent Miss Whitehill a commendation to recognize her dedication and 37 years of teaching. They also sent the NASA video.
Miss Whitehill is a native of Georgetown, PA and grew up on her family’s Bicentennial Farm there. Her ancestors, English and Scotch, were among the earliest settlers in this area.
After graduating from Chester (WV) High School, Miss Whitehill decided to become a teacher and attended Maryville ( TN) Presbyterian College as a freshman. She transferred to Muskingham her sophomore year. After graduation, she returned to western Pennsylvania and taught in Hanover and Greene Townships a the Nichols, Ralston and Scott schools.
Rivendale is located on Cumberland Ridge Road off WV Route i. It is owned and operated by Eva Doman, RN and Karen Wilds, BSN, RN and is licensed and regulated by the WV Department of Health & Human Services.
Speaking about their special program on October 29th, Doman said “John Glenn is a triumph for older people. We will especially enjoy his trip this time because of Miss Whitehill and because this event is such a great tribute to the value of our senior citizens. We are looking forward to watching the shuttle launch at 2 PM after our party.
Senator Glenn, 77, became a national hero on February 20, 1962 in the Mercury spacecraft called “Friendship 7” when he was he first American to orbit the Earth. Friendship 7 is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum near Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of ST. Louis”. In the Senator’s career, he earned five Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Air Medal with 18 Clusters, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
On October 29th, John Glenn will become the oldest person ever in space, making him again a hero to Americans who have followed the space program since its earliest flights. He will join six other astronauts for a nine-day flight on the STS-95 Space Shuttle Discovery, serving as a payload specialist for a geriatric study. He will submit to a variety of medical experiments so NASA can compare the effects of aging to the effects of weightlessness. NASA believes this will be science at its very best, because aging and space flight share a number of similar physiological responses such as bone and muscle loss, balance disorders and sleep disturbances.
The American, Japanese and Spanish crew will release and retrieve a sun-gazing satellite, test equipment destined for the Hubble space telescope, and conduct astronomy experiments. They will travel at 300 nautical miles above the Earth’s surface, circling the globe 144 times.
Senator Glenn has said that beyond the fun and excitement of the space trip, he is proud to be able to serve in the research of geriatrics because it will benefit all older Americans. The government has projected that in 50 years, there will be almost 19 million Americans 85 years or older.
Contributed by Bonnie