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Air Force Tech Sgt. Matthew Alfreno painted the name of Army SPC Brandon Legnosky on his plane for the 2007 air show after connecting with Legnosky's sister, Carrie Hockenberry, a former classmate.

T. Sgt. Matthew Alfreno – dedicated crew chief, Thunderbird No. 1 and a 1996 graduate of Grove City High School – was on a mission of another kind earlier this year.

It began when Alfreno found an old friend from school years via the internet, Carrie (Fitzgerald) Hockenberry of Grove City, whose brother, Spc. Brandon Legnosky, is serving in the U.S. Army. Alfreno had viewed Carrie’s MySpace page on the internet, and was very impressed at the amount of information about her brother and how patriotic it was, urging people to support her brother and all the military men and women who are serving to defend our freedom.

That prompted him to attempt to contact Carrie through MySpace on several occasions. However, she didn’t realize who he was at first and refused to make that contact. After several attempts, she thought maybe he was her friend from high school, and the contact was made.

Alfreno told her how proud and honored he was that she supported her brother and all the troops, and said he was going to paint her brother’s name on his plane for the 2007 air show season.

“We may be in different military branches, but we fight the same fight, and we are one team,” Alfreno said.

Alfreno is stationed in Las Vegas and has been in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years, the last two with the Thunderbird team.

Legnosky is a Harrisville native who is currently serving with the 18th Engineer Brigade and recently re-enlisted for six years after serving a four-year tour of duty, including a year in Bagram, Afghanistan, with Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Legnosky attended Slippery Rock Area Schools and graduated in 2000 from Conneautville High School. He has been married two years to the former Jillian Szczudlik, and they have a 16-month-old daughter, Hannah.

Legnosky is a son of Yvonne Phipps Evans of Harrisville and Michael Legnosky of Conneautville, and grandson of Joan Turnbull of Grove City. He is currently assigned to Heidelberg, Germany, with a Combat Engineering Platoon, and will be reassigned to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., on July 9 of this year. Legnosky was recently home on emergency leave to attend his grandfather Legnosky’s funeral.

He told his sister how honored he was and how much he appreciated the gesture by Alfreno.

Alfreno is a son of Marilyn Schrantz and Terry Alfreno, both of Grove City.

He has been married to the former Kimberly Rockburn for 10 years, and they have a daughter, Elizabeth, 8, and a son, Connor, 2.

Carrie said the two men have not met yet, but she hopes they can in the future.

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