HAZLETON — Lorenzo A. Ferraro was in the hospital in 1952 and never got to his separation point when he was being discharged from the U.S. Army after serving in the Korean War.
Because he missed the ceremony, Ferraro, of Kingston, never received his medals: the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal and Bronze Star Attachment and the United Nations Service Medal.
On Wednesday, the eve of America’s birthday, Ferraro and eight other veterans, or their family members, got the medals they deserve during a ceremony at U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta’s Hazleton district office.
“There’s no better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than to present medals to these true American heroes,” Barletta said. “That’s what these gentlemen are — heroes. If it weren’t for their service and what they did for their country, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate the Fourth of July or any other holiday.”
Ferraro said it was a proud day for him and his family.
“It’s a long time coming,” he said. Ferraro served in Korea in 1951 and 1952.
Also receiving medals Wednesday were:
• Francis C. Turner, 94, of Tunkhannock, who served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945 and in the reserves from 1945 to 1978; Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal & Germany Clasp, National Defense Service Medal and the Expert Badge & Carbine Bar.
• Nicholas J. Migliori, 88, of Falls, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946; Bronze Star Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign, World War II Victory Medal and the Honorable Service Lapel Button World War II. Since he was unable to attend the ceremony, the medals were accepted by his son, Nicholas Migliori.
• Leonard B. Brown (deceased), from Old Forge, who served in the U.S. Army from 1943-46; Good Conduct Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button World War II, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal. The medals were accepted by his son, Leonard Brown.
• John Chernock (deceased), from Milnesville, who served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1944; Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button World War II and Marksman Badge & Carbine Bar. The medals were accepted by his son, John Chernock.
• James Gresavage, 84, of Herndon, who served in the U.S. Army from 1951-52; Meritorious Unit Commendation.
• Robert C. Keil (deceased), of Bear Creek, who served in the U.S. Army from 1941-46; Bronze Star Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and Bronze Star Attachment, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, Expert Badge & Carbine Bar and Marksman Badge & Rifle Bar. These medals were requested and presented to his daughter, Deborah A. Peduto.
• Michael Litchko, 89, of Freeland, who served in the U.S. Army from 1943-45; Purple Heart, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, Honorable Service Lapel Button World War II and the Marksman Badge
• Rolland G. Raber, 66, of Bloomsburg, who served in the U.S. Army from 1966-68; Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Expert Badge & Rifle Bar, Sharpshooter Badge & Machine Gun Bar, Marksman Badge & Rifle Bar and the Korea Defense Service Medal.
Peduto’s daughter, Shannon Hernandez, was there with her son, Keil’s grandson, Brayden Robert Hernandez.
“He’s my dad’s namesake,” Peduto said. “We thought he should be here for this presentation.”
Peduto said she was pleased to accept the medals on behalf of her late father. “It’s wonderful,” she said. “I only wish he were here to receive them.”
Turner wore his uniform and said the medals mean a lot to him. “But I don’t think I should have the Good Conduct Medal,” he said with a chuckle.
Turner said he was in Berlin after the surrender in 1945. The German people called the U.S. soldiers “liberators,” he said.
Barletta, R-Hazleton, said it was fitting to honor the veterans. “While these medals are long overdue, the presentation gives us an opportunity to thank them once again for their sacrifices on our behalf.”