Moravian Trio Attends Book ‘Boxing Party’ for Veterans Day
A simple, yet powerful saying explains why Moravian College Executive Chef Michael Kostalis and two Moravian ROTC cadets attended a book “boxing party” at Judith’s Reading Room in South Side Bethlehem earlier this month. “If we are stronger in the community, it makes us stronger in the nation,” reasoned Kostalis, a U.S. Marine master sergeant.
Heeding his own message, Kostalis joined Moravian students Josh Gonzalez ’15 and Eugene Molisso ’15, as well as Lehigh University student Dylan Hume, at Judith’s Reading Room for a boxing partying Nov. 4, assisting nearly 30 other volunteers package books for troops and libraries abroad. In recognition of Veterans Day, which was commemorated a week later, the foursome served in uniform.
Over the past year, Kostalis has informally mentored several Moravian ROTC cadets, beginning with recent graduate Nick Hurff ’13. His close relationship with Hurff led Kostalis to continue mentoring others, including Gonzalez.
“I’m trying to push these young people to do more, in a master sergeant of the Marines kind of way,” Kostalis explained. “We have many great young leaders on our campus, and I’ve tried to instill in them the importance of getting involved in the community.”
According to Kostalis, he first became aware of Judith’s Reading Room and its mission two months ago, when Daniel Leiber, a sous chef at Moravian, mentioned that his mother, Cathy Leiber, was the organization’s president and co-founder. With a nephew serving with the Marines in Afghanistan, Helmand Province, Kostalis jumped at the chance to send him books and a handwritten letter.
While writing his nephew Nov. 4, Kostalis admitted he got choked up putting pen to paper. “I started crying because I forgot that it was going to be Christmas soon,” he said. “In his last email to me, he said, ‘Uncle Mike, send Nutella, tuna and peanut butter.’ Then he added, ‘I’m starting to want to come home.’ Having deployed twice, I know how tough it can be to be away.”
For more information about Judith’s Reading Room and its volunteering opportunities, visit http://www.judithsreadingroom.org/.
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