Medals Awarded at Sunday Ceremony

April 29, 2007

Medal recipients, standing, from left: Cpl. Adam J. Bacon, Paul Wachowicz, Donald J. Rankin, Bernard J. Nienhaus, II, (Assemblyman Schimminger,) Maj. Terence G. McGuire, Elvira Lovell (accepting posthumous medal for husband Bill D.) and Sgt. Edward J. Stefik.

Seated from left: Patricia Scive (accepting posthumous medal for husband John), Howard E. Amy, Francis X. Boudreau, Philip A. Corigliano, Richard R. Peffer and Michael A. Altieri.

Against the backdrop of continuing combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger presented New York State’s highest military honors to veterans in recognition of their heroic service to our nation in Iraq and earlier conflicts.

At a ceremony entitled "In the Company of Heroes" held this afternoon (Sunday, April 29) at the VFW Frontiersmen Post 7545 in the City of Tonawanda, Assemblyman Schimminger presented the Conspicuous Service Cross, the Conspicuous Service Star and the Medal for Merit to armed forces veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq. The medals are awarded by the State of New York in recognition of exceptional bravery, outstanding service, or other special accomplishments.

In his remarks to the medal recipients and their families, Assemblyman Schimminger said, “Earlier this year, the Medal of Honor, our country’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force, was given posthumously to a young Western New Yorker serving in Iraq who gave his life so that the men under his command might live. On that April day in 2004, Marine Corporal Jason Dunham of Scio used his helmet and body to absorb the blast of an insurgent’s grenade, saving the lives of two of his men, but losing his own eight days after the explosion. We all salute Corporal Dunham and his heroic story of sacrifice and courage.

“Indeed, sacrifice and courage are words that inevitably come to mind when speaking about those who serve in our nation’s armed forces. In fact, when Corporal Dunham’s parents accepted his Medal of Honor, they said they did so not only for their son, but ‘in all the servicemen and women’s names.’ Today, it is my privilege to recognize the courageous Western New Yorkers before us, who selflessly put their own lives on hold and at risk, sacrificing willingly for the cause of freedom at home and abroad. In the fields of Europe, in the mountains of Korea, in the jungles of Southeast Asia, and in the sands of the Middle East, they have served our nation with strength, commitment, and valor. These extraordinary individuals are being recognized for exceptional bravery, outstanding service or other special accomplishment in the performance of their duties as members of the United States armed forces.

“As American citizens, we owe those we are honoring today and all those who defend our way of life and our nation our unending support and heartfelt appreciation. Their families, their friends and their communities should be very proud.”