Members of the American Traditions 4-H club in Johnstown were treated to special guests at their last meeting of the season as Walter LaSota and his wife Dee talked about their experiences during World War II, both in the south Pacific and on the home front.

Members of the American Traditions 4-H club in Johnstown were treated to special guests at their last meeting of the season as Walter LaSota and his wife Dee talked about their experiences during World War II, both in the south Pacific and on the home front.

The LaSotas, who live in the Pittsburgh area, were invited to speak by member Rachel Knudson, whose grandparents are friends of the LaSotas.

Walter LaSota was born in 1914, received his eight-week basic training at Miami Beach and went on to serve as a cook in the U.S. Army in the south Pacific from 1943-45. He spoke openly about his time in the Army, which included stays on 17 islands throughout the South Pacific over a 23-month period.

During this time he not only saw combat, but served meals to thousands of servicemen and women -- including Bob Hope, during one of his USO visits. He also recalled serving an early morning breakfast to the crew of the Enola Gay, which later that day dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Dee LaSota spoke of life on the home front of western Pennsylvania. She was one of 12 children, three of whom served in the war. One brother was killed by a German sniper in France, while the other two returned. She shared stories of living without electricity and living with rationed fuel, sugar and other items usually take for granted.

The couple encouraged the 4-H members to be nice to other people and to stay away from tobacco and alcohol. After the war LaSota went on to serve as a cook for a county jail and spent more than 30 years preparing food for other people. He celebrated his 94th birthday on July 22.

Members of the club expressed appreciation to the LaSotas for sharing their experiences, and to the servicemen and women who have served and are currently serving the country.

Submitted by Ben Abel, news reporter.