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Sergeant First Class George A. Pugliese, Carbondale, had his life taken while serving near Ramadi, Iraq on September 28, 2005. He leaves behind his proud wife, the former Lee Ann Bootz. They would have celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary on October 26. Inscribed in their wedding rings are the words, “now and forever.”

Born September 18, 1966 in New York, he is the son of Dolores Parker, Honesdale and the late Leonard Pugliese of Virginia. He is a 1984 graduate of Thomas Edison High School, New York City, and received an Associates Degree from Queens Borough College in 1987. He received an honorable discharge from the US Army. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard on January 2, 1991, and was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion 109th Infantry, which at that time was located in Carbondale. After completing Basic Training and Infantry Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, GA, in May of 1991, he returned to Company B in Carbondale and was assigned as a rifleman. From 1991 to the present, he progressed in rank and responsibility with assignments as a grenadier, automatic rifleman, assistant squad leader, and section leader. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant on November 1, 1998. In May, 2002, Staff Sergeant Pugliese was mobilized with the rest of the 1-109th Infantry and deployed to Bosnia–Herzegovina for a six-month rotation as part of SFOR-12. When the battalion mobilized for deployment to Iraq in January, 2005, he was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry in Williamsport.

Sergeant Pugliese is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Leadership Development Course, Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course, Instructor Trainer Course and Non-Lethal Weapons and Tactics Course.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserved Medal with Hourglass and M Devices, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Defense with Bronze Service Star, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge. His state awards include the Thomas J. Stewart Medal, the T.R. White Medal, and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Unit Citation. He served the US Military for 16 years. He attended Saint Rose of Lima Church, Carbondale. He was employed as a guard at S.C.I., Waymart, where everyone respected him.

George was a devoted husband, father, son, nephew, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, son-in-law, neighbor, co-worker, friend, and soldier.

He will never be forgotten, for he will remain in the hearts of all who knew him. His family was his life, Lee Anne his best friend, they were a team. Nicholas was his little fishing buddy and X-Box partner, Jonathon was his Thomas the Train conductor and Avianna was his tomboy. He can be quoted saying, “I will sacrifice my life to keep my children safe here at home.”

His wife, Lee Anne wants everyone to know that she is the proud wife of S.F. C. George A. Pugliese, always and forever. She will not say goodbye to her husband, for he will always be in her heart and will live on through herself and their beautiful family. They would always tell each other, “I’m okay if you’re okay,” and he better than okay and doing what he wanted, making the world a better place. He is her hero.

Also surviving are two sons, Nicholas, 8, and Jonathon, 5; a daughter, Avianna, 3, all at home; two brothers, Stephen and his wife, Laura and their children, Danielle, Richard, and Anthony, all of Honesdale; Michael and his wife, Tina and their children, Robert and Joseph, all of New York; an aunt, Sylvia Parker, Honesdale; his in-laws, George Bootz and his wife, Jean, Archbald; a sister-in-law, Sherri Allison and husband, Steve and children, Justin and Larissa, all of Pleasant Mount.

A Funeral Mass was offered on Tuesday at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church, Archbald. Interment, Saint Thomas Cemetery, Archbald.

Memorial donations may be made to the George A. Pugliese Family Trust Fund, c/o Pennstar Bank, Brooklyn Street, Carbondale, PA 18407 or any Pennstar branch.

God Bless all our fallen heroes.

Arrangements were made by the Brennan and Brennan Funeral Home, Carbondale.

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