Pair of local veterans garner prestigious awards

There’s a lot of which to be proud of in the local veterans world.

Thomas J. DeCarlo, of Ironwood, is the 2016 Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year, nominated by American Legion Post 27, of Bessemer, for the award.

DeCarlo’s list of experiences is long. The World War II veteran served in the U.S. Navy with the 3rd Fleet Pacific-TS-5P, with his decorations including the WWII Victory Medal, the American Pacific Area Ribbon and the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon-1Star.

The life member of the American Legion Post 27, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3673, also in Bessemer, and Disabled American Veterans belongs to other military organizations as well and is heavily involved in his community. He too is a flag carrier for Marty’s Goldenaires Drum and Bugle Corps wherever it travels.

DeCarlo isn’t the only honored U.P. veteran.

The Vietnam Veterans of America Inc. Commendation Medal – its highest award – recently was given to Vic Romback of Negaunee.

The award recognizes members for their outstanding service to veterans and their communities.

Romback, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, is a life member of the Negaunee Chapter 380 of the VVA and has held many offices at the chapter level. He served as an officer of the VVA State of Michigan Council and was an at-large director at the national level.

As with DeCarlo, Romback is active in his community, having returned to Vietnam three times as part of a house-building team for Habitat For Humanity.

DeCarlo and Romback have served their country well, as have many others, and continue to be active in veterans’ causes. However, they also find time to be active in the community.

DeCarlo, for example, is active in the Lady of Peace Catholic Church and belongs to the Knights of Columbus 397 in Ironwood.

Romback plans to return to Vietnam in September for more Habitat For Humanity work.

It would be easy for them to sit back and enjoy their golden years, reflecting back on their contributions. However, the two men still have a lot to give to their communities.

And the communities are better off for it.