By William Tauro
The 2018 Somerville Heroes Salute honored eight Somerville heroes during the annual recognition ceremony, including a Profile in Courage Lifetime Achievement Award to Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Thomas G. Kelley.
The 2018 Heroes Salute was held on Saturday morning , May 19, at the Holiday Inn, 30 Washington Street.
This year’s honorees included Heroes Square dedications in memory of:
• PFC Alfred J. Byrne (WWII/Killed in Service)
• PFC James V. Parziale (Korea/Killed In Action)
• SP4 Robert J. Waters, a Purple Heart recipient for injuries sustained in battle during the Vietnam conflict.
• Former Somerville Alderman and Director of Veterans’ Services, 1Lt Walter Pero. Pero was honored for a lifetime of service to the City, the Commonwealth and the Nation.
The ceremony also included a special dedication for CpL Anthony G. Guerriero (WWII/Killed in action in the South Pacific in 1943), and his nephew CpL Anthony J. Graziano who earned the Purple Heart during the Vietnam conflict. Both were Corporals in the United States Marine Corps separated by a generation of service. Even though they never met, the two heroes are a shining example of service that can run through families.
Korean War Veteran Hall of Fame
Francis Ganat became the first Korean War Veteran to be inducted into the Somerville Korean War Veteran Hall of Fame. Frank served in Korea and came home and continued his service through his work with the US Postal Service as well as the golf course manager for the Bedford VA.
Profile in Courage Lifetime Achievement Award
The Profile in Courage Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to a Veteran who has distinguished themselves above and beyond the call of duty as a member of the armed forces and returned home to continue the mission of service. This year the award was presented to Medal of Honor recipient Captain Thomas G. Kelley (USN). Captain Kelley received his Medal of Honor for heroic actions during his naval service during the Vietnam Conflict. He also continued to serve his fellow Veterans as Secretary of Veterans’ Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.