John R. Bazella helped to rescue Donald J. McCully from a cave-in, Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, February 8, 1977. When a cave-in occurred in a coal mine, McCully, 46, was completely buried alongside a mining machine but was able to breathe because the shale and sandstone rock that had fallen was partially supported by collapsed wooden beams. Bazella, 31, coal mine mechanic, and other workmen gathered to assist in the rescue of McCully. After another machine had removed enough rocks to uncover the end of the collapsed boom of the mining machine, a tunnel was dug by hand alongside the boom. It was necessary to cut through a fallen beam along the way as, with the men crawling in and out, the careful removal of rocks finally extended the tunnel to McCully. Rocks were removed from around him. As a result of the efforts of Bazella and the other men, McCully then was pulled from under the rock fall via the tunnel. 55971-6303
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John Robert Bazella, Sr., of Rossiter, Pa., died Feb. 10, 2012, at home.
He was born Dec. 27, 1945, in New Kensington, Pa., a son of the late John Casmier and Olive Bertha (Daugherty) Bazella.
He was a U.S. Army veteran, having faithfully served his country in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, where he was also exposed to Agent Orange that caused years of health issues that he refused to let keep him down.
In 1997, he moved to a 250-acre family farm in Rossiter. Bazella was a true farmer at heart, which was his first and most loved profession. He had a great respect and love of earth and animals. He enjoyed planting and harvesting and always planted more than he could ever use in order to share with others who truly had a need. He loved his cows and stray animals.
He worked in coal mines and received the Joseph Holmes Award for Heroism for pulling a fellow miner to safety and saving his life. He was later employed at J. Bazella Concrete and Construction and worked very hard and was dedicated to jobs of perfection and huge peoportions, such as airport runways.
In honor of his wishes, Bazella was buried at sunset, Feb. 11, 2012, on the family farm in the John R. Bazella Cemetery, Canoe Township, Indiana County.
(Edited from an obituary in the Punxsutawney, Pa., Spirit, Feb. 12, 2012.)