Supporting a local legend: Walter Pasiak

Supporting a local legend: Walter Pasiak

We met Walter Pasiak in June, during a visit from his nurse, Donna Zupp, RN. Walter suffers from diabetes and has benefited from the expertise of Allied Services’ Home Health nurses and therapists. They have helped him to manage his condition, treat a slow healing wound and were there to support his recovery after a hospitalization.

walter pasiak and donna rupp, rn

Walter with his Home Health nurse, Donna Zupp, RN.

As we sat down to talk, we quickly realized that Walter was far from your ordinary patient. Full of pep and witty commentary, Walter raved about the service he had been receiving and how much he enjoyed seeing Donna.

“She is wonderful. One of the best and you tell them I said so!”

We talked more about his younger days and learned that Walter was a military veteran. As we looked over some old photos and news articles, it became apparent that we were in the presence of one of the last known survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor living in Lackawanna County.

photo of pearl harbor

"I remember coming out of the mess hall, after breakfast, and these planes coming over Pearl Harbor. We all headed for the supply room to get whatever weapons were available to fire at any aircraft coming over," Pasiak recalled. “It was a mess. There were ships on fire everywhere.”

Walter was just 19 years old when he enlisted in the Army. “I had been working in the mines (coal) with my father in Scranton. The pay was no good and it was no way to live a life. So I signed up to serve my country.” And serve he did.

After Pearl Harbor, he served out the rest of World War II in the Pacific, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He went on to serve in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In total, Pasiak served in the Army for 22 years, retiring as a Master Sergeant.

An incredible story that Walter glazes over and doesn’t speak of much is his last name.

“My family name was a long Polish name. It wouldn’t even fit on my uniforms. So early on in the service, an officer told me that if I was going to make my way up the ranks I would have to change my name. So I did.”

After some prompting by his Home Health nurse, “Tell her Walter. Tell her how you came up with the name Pasiak.” Walter very casually said, “Well, after we took some fire my buddy was wounded. I drug him out and held on to him until he was gone. So I thought that would be a good way to honor him, and that was that.”

That was that. Walter didn’t elaborate or go on to tell any other war stories. He shared a few more photos from his Army days, but made sure we took notice of the small drawing on his refrigerator and the stacks of cards and other drawings he keeps nearby.

Cherished even more than the news articles and old photos, are the cards and drawings from his great nieces and nephews. “Oh I’ve got them (nieces and nephews) all over and they stay in touch with me all the time! They call me. They come visit and they send me these cards and pictures. I live alone, but I’m not lonely.”

At 98 years old, Walter lives alone at his home in West Scranton. A home he shared with his wife, Patricia until her death in 2007. The couple met in Korea and had two children, both of whom sadly died at birth.

Allied Services Home Health is honored to help this Veteran live safely at home, surrounded by the memories of his loving wife.

Learn more about Allied Services Home Health by calling 570.348.2200 or by clicking here.