Veteran of the Month – June 2014

The Ohio County Veterans Museum and Historical Society take great pride in our veterans and have chosen a 20-year military man as its Veteran of the Month. A special exhibit in his honor and to say a big “Thank You for Your Service” will be highlighted during the month of June at the Museum.

Mr. William R. (Bill) Bliznick was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, NY to Russian and Ukrainian immigrant parents, Charles and Mary Bliznick. The family moved to Ft. Pierce, FL in 1952, where Bill graduated from high school in 1954 and volunteered his service to the US Army in 1955.

Upon completion of his basic training at Ft. Jackson, SC, he was sent to Ft. Campbell, KY for Airborne training, then to Augsberg, Germany with the 11th Airborne Div. for two years. He then returned to Ft. Campbell with the 101st Division. Bill was very athletic and competitive; playing on the football and track teams where he won medals in the javelin, discus, and shot put.

In June, 1965, Mr. Bliznick was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam with the 173rd Div. as a squad leader. He was wounded twice in 1966 for which he received the Purple Heart Medal. He still carries a bullet in his lung from that experience. In 1968, he went to Naval Dive School for training. He, along with a team of seven other divers, started the US Army Diver School in Ft. Eustus, VA. This was a 6-month class which covered “hard hat,” Jack Brown,” and “scuba” diving. He returned to Vietnam with the 182nd Div. as a platoon leader and diver, and was awarded the Bronze Star medal during his tour. From parachuting to reconnaissance to deep-sea diving, and everything in between, Bill did about all there was to do. He retired as E-7 Sergeant 1st class in 1975.

After his retirement, he attended diesel school and went to work with Commonwealth Aluminum in Hancock County as a millwright and later as a diesel mechanic. Before retiring from Commonwealth after 20 years, he was introduced to working with clay and the potter’s wheel at Ft. Campbell and opened a pottery studio in his home.

How did Sgt. Bliznick end up in Ohio County? While he was stationed at Ft. Campbell in the 1960s, he met and married a lady from the Taffy area and has resided there since his military years ended. Bill met his present wife, Renee, at the October Fest in Hartford in 1999. She was an art teacher from Muhlenberg County and was drawing portraits from a street booth. He was doing pottery. They exchanged cards, became friends, and were married 6 months later. They now work together to craft whimsical, one of a kind pottery items. Their studio “It’s a Jungle Clay Works” is located at their home in Taffy. They are members of Kentucky Crafted and have their items displayed in eleven states.

They are the parents of two sons, Clay Bliznick, a senior at UK and Robby Jennings in Alabama. Their daughters are Cindy Mascarie in Florida, Tarra Meadows in Tennessee, and Audra Jennings in Bowling Green. They are blessed with 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

The Ohio County Veterans Museum is located at 415 Mulberry Street in Hartford, with hours from 9am-3pm on Saturdays. There is no admission charge, but donations are gladly accepted. The museum is not affiliated with any federal, state, or local veterans organizations and is staffed by volunteers.

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