Greensburg Veteran Thrived on Family, Slavic Roots

Article excerpt

Tom Felice learned about the phrase "achieving the American dream" at a rather young age.

"I was only a youngster when my parents would take us to visit our Uncle Tom (Hricik)," Felice said. "I couldn't help but admire listening to the discussion of his achievements in the country that he loved and served during the Korean War, and for his reverence to his Slavic roots."

Thomas M. Hricik of Greensburg, a former president of the First Catholic Slovak Union of the United States and Canada, and a 1997 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, died Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, in Pleasant Unity. He was 79.

Raised in what was known as the "Patch" in Pleasant Unity, Tom Hricik was one of nine children in the family of miner Michael Hricik and his wife Cecelia Takac Hricik.

After his discharge from the Army, where he served with the 14th Armored Cavalry Division during the Korean War, Mr. Hricik used the GI Bill to earn an accounting certificate from Westmoreland/ Greensburg Business School and take business courses at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University.

Mr. Hricik was employed by Teledyne Vasco for 34 years until retiring as director of purchasing.

His son Thomas, of Sewickley, recalled what it was like growing up with a father who, despite his often hectic schedule, was committed to his wife and children.

"Dad's life revolved around his family," his son said. …