Moving from Hawaii back to Canton
Published: February 24, 2013
CANTON — When Darryl Jannone of Canton starts up the snow blower, the same question runs through his mind.
It’s a question that occurs to other people, too.
“I am often asked why I moved back to Canton, Pa. from Hawaii,” Jannone said. “That is a fair question.”
And he has an answer.
“Canton is a long way from the warm temperatures, beautiful beaches and tropical trade winds of Oahu, but Canton is home.”
Jannone served in the U.S. Army for almost 27 years, a career that included combat tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.
Jannone said that his military career “culminated with one final tour of duty as the U.S. Army Garrison Command Sergeant Major for the island of Oahu.”
Shortly after completing a deployment in Iraq with the 1st Armored Division as their Provost Marshal Sergeant Major, Jannone said he, his wife, Theresa, and three sons were on their way to Oahu in March 2010, and were “lucky enough to spend two and a half years living in the warm Hawaiian sun.”
While there, they learned how to surf, scuba dive, snorkel and paddle board.
He noted that it’s one thing to be a tourist, but “a totally different thing to live there.”
He said they became immersed in “the culture, beauty and diversity that Oahu offers.”
“When that tour was completed I wanted to retire in a small, patriotic, family-friendly location,” he said. “My home town was the perfect fit. This is where I came from, where my family lives and where I want to be.”
And Jannone has certainly settled back in.
“In retirement, I support Canton Area School District as a substitute teacher /in-school suspension teacher and serve as a Canton Borough councilman in an effort to remain active and participate in my community,” he said.
He was appointed to Canton Borough Council in October of 2012.
Amy Seeley, Canton Borough administrator, is impressed with Jannone’s performance on council.
“Darryl has been a proactive council member, bringing to the table a strong military/law enforcement background with a common sense and fiscally-conscious approach to community-minded decisions,” Seeley said.
His brother, Mark, is pleased that Darryl is back in Canton. He acknowledged his brother’s service to his country, and the seriousness of that courageous duty.
“I think that he has led an amazingly successful career which has taken him, and at times his family, virtually all over the globe and back again,” said Mark Jannone. “He may have been stationed in ‘paradise’ for his last duty station, but he has spent his share of time stationed in ‘hell’ while serving our country. He’s always considered Canton his home and both he and his wife, Theresa, are genuinely happy to volunteer their time to give back to the community. I’m very happy that they have moved back into our community.”
When it came to settling back in, Darryl Jannone noted that the transition from military life to retirement “was more difficult for me than the location.”
“The ‘sense of urgency’ is very different outside the military,” he said. “One thing that I do very much personally miss is where our home sat and the sheer magnitude of the historical past of Oahu. My house sat on a small military housing area called Red Hill. Red Hill was named very properly as that red dirt seemed to find its way into everything. Red Hill was perfectly positioned on the edge of Pearl Harbor. Every morning before reporting to duty, I would drink a cup of coffee in the warm Hawaiian sunrise. From my back porch I could see the beauty that Pearl Harbor has and I could clearly see the USS Arizona.”
He said this was “a stark and constant reminder of cost and magnitude of the attacks of Dec. 7, 1941.”
“As a career soldier, that had a huge impact on me and helped me keep things prioritized and served as a great source of motivation.”
He recalled his duties in Hawaii.
“Oahu was beautiful, and serving as the U.S. Army Garrison Command Sergeant Major responsible for the quality of life for a supported population of more than 92,000 soldiers, civilians and family members was the pinnacle of my career,” he said.
“Serving as the Garrison Command Sergeant Major and a Battalion Command Sergeant Major was a distinct privilege,” he continued. “I was blessed with an incredible staff and battalion of soldiers. Together we directed and coordinated all life support activities that impacted quality of life and readiness for our 40 military communities, 7,200 sets of family quarters, and 17 military installations.”
“I was also fortunate to be the president of the Juvenile Review Board, which was a panel of professionals that were responsible for health, discipline and welfare on our military communities and residential areas with a focus on correcting juvenile behavior and making juvenile offenders productive members of their families and communities. I am very proud to say that the Juvenile Review Board was recognized as a best practice. I was blessed to be the leader of that effort but the success of the program was a result of the collective effort of the members of the board and the military units within the command.”
He said the decision to move back to Canton was not an easy one to make because his oldest son, a fellow combat veteran, serves in the U.S. Army in Hawaii.
He noted that his oldest son serves as a military policeman, just as he did.
“I’m very proud of my son, Specialist Robert Jannone,” he said. “To have your son follow directly in your footsteps is one of the most rewarding things a parent can experience, especially in a profession dedicated to selfless service and commitment to our great nation. The army did quite a few great things for me, but the ability to mentor my own son in his first few years of military service, especially as he prepared for a tour in Afghanistan, was truly priceless for me and for my bride.
“After spending my entire adult life in uniform in the greatest army in the world and after years of moving my family all over the world, I wanted my youngest son to start and graduate from one high school,” he said. “I wanted that school to be the same one I graduated from in 1985.”
He noted that his youngest son is a junior at Canton High School.
“He made the transition almost seamlessly,” Jannone said. “A military lifestyle brings about quite a bit of moving. Canton High School is probably his ninth school so he looked very much forward to settling down, having a set of friends that won’t change every three years and to live in a small community where you are recognized. I will say that hearing his name on the loud speaker at Canton football games is very rewarding for me. He loves playing football for the Warriors as their kicker.
“Canton High School is an excellent school led by a great group of administrators and powered by a group of caring and professional teachers and staff,” he said. “One thing that I like about Canton is that it really hasn’t changed much from the days when my father, Dr. Robert Jannone, was the principal of the high school. It is still a school that is invested in ensuring that students reach their full potential and become valued members of our community.”
“Canton was an easy decision for me as we each have our own paradise,” he said. “Sure, I miss surfing, paddle boarding, scuba diving, snorkeling, beaches and the weather in Hawaii, but Canton is ‘Warrior Country’ and I can’t think of a better place for an old soldier to call home.”
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org