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Shelby J Feniello


A 1999 graduate of Connellsville Area Senior High School became Connellsville’s first fatality in the war in Iraq.

Marine Private First Class Shelby Feniello, 25, was killed Monday at about 6 p.m. Iraqi time, when the Humvee he was driving hit several roadside bombs.

Feniello was the son of Richard Feniello and Kimberly McCune, both of Connellsville.

Don Burkholder, adjutant of American Legion Post 301, Connellsville, confirmed Feniello was the first fatality from Connellsville, although several local guardsmen have suffered injuries while serving in Iraq, he said.

“It’s a shame. Our hearts go out to the family,” Burkholder said.

Feniello served with the C Company, 1st Platoon, based at Camp Lejune, N.C. He joined the Marine Corps on May 10, 2004.

“He was an All-American boy,” Richard Feniello said of his son. “Take orders and do your duty.”

“He was trying to help others who were in trouble,” Richard Feniello said. “He knew there was danger. We all knew there was danger. He was just doing his job. He thought he was (doing) right. He was a good guy.”

Richard Feniello said he last spoke to his son on Saturday when he called. “He had only been there a month this time. He knew it was a bad situation. (Anbar) is where some of the fiercest fighting has taken place.”

Feniello’s aunt, Sheryl Nagy, of Connellsville, said this was the serviceman’s second tour in Iraq.

“He was there for seven months, then back at Camp Lejune for seven months. He went back to Iraq on Sept. 10.”

Feniello returned home from his first tour in the war zone on Oct. 11 of last year, almost a year to day of his death, said his father.

While attending Connellsville High School, Feniello was a member of the wrestling team. He had wrestled since he was young, and also played football in junior high school. He also loved hunting and fishing.

“He was a good kid, a good athlete,” said Tom Dolde, who served as Feniello’s head wrestling coach. “He was always smiling. He went to the states (tournament) when he was younger. He was pretty tough, a heavyweight. He was such a polite kid. He always said hello, always had a smile on his face.”

“He was a great kid and a hard worker,” said Tommy Dolde, who served as assistant wrestling coach at the time. “He never whined about injuries, and you enjoy coaching kids like that.”

Before joining the Marines, Feniello held several part-time jobs, his father said. One was with Allegheny Power, another with United Parcel Service. After high school, he attended Westmoreland County Community College. He graduated from WCCC with an associate degree in accounting.

Nagy said “He had a great personality. He was always smiling. He had a wonderful girlfriend, Emily Saylor. She goes to IUP. He came up often to visit Emily. He was always so happy. His senior year, he was named class flirt. That’s just how he was,” Nagy said.

Shelby’s portrait is also located on Poster 2

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