ZELIENOPLE (KDKA) — In downtown Zelienople, flags are flying at half-staff.
In this Butler County town, it’s a direct tribute to Frank Kohler, the 50-year-old defense contractor who was killed in the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
“It’s tough for the whole community. They’re a good, good family,” said Joe Maddalon, a family friend. “The Kohlers are very good, very kind people.”
Kohler bought his wife’s engagement ring at Maddalon Jewelers in Zelienople.
“You have to watch your step everywhere,” said Joe. “I’m an old Vietnam vet, so I’m a little afraid of things like that.”
The Maddalon store has been in Zelienople for nearly 50 years. David Maddalon grew up just a few houses down from the Kohlers.
“It just hit home this time it seemed like,” said David. “You just kind of think you don’t know anyone that this every happened to, and this kind of hit home this time.”
Frank’s brother, Harvey, works at the borough building.
No one knows quite what to say, how the family, this town, Frank’s hometown will cope.
“You always think it’s somewhere else,” said Don Pepe, the borough manager, “but when it actually comes to home, in your own community, it really does affect you hard.”
In Zelienople, they realize this tragedy, it’s tough.
“You live your life, but you can’t be afraid to live your life,” said Pepe. “You have to live it and when this does occur, you have to deal with it as best you can.”