Friday, August 12th, 2011

The Morris County Freeholders on Aug. 10 honored 10 veterans for their service to our nation by presenting each of them with the Morris County Distinguished Military Service Medal.

The medals were presented during a ceremony prior to the freeholder board’s public meeting in Morristown.

The freeholders started the recognition program in 1999 when they began awarding commemorative medals to Morris County veterans, living or deceased, who participated in the 1944 D-Day invasion and the liberation of France from German occupation.

Since then, the freeholders have presented more than 9,000 medals to veterans who have served during conflicts from World War II to today’s war against terrorism.

Those whose names were added to the list of medal recipients Wednesday were Army veterans Robert Pilkington of Long Valley; Ben Suntag and Francis Nardi of Rockaway; Terrance Cozza of Rockaway; and Superior Court Assignment Judge Thomas L. Weisenbeck of Morris Township.

Navy veterans who received medals were John Scagnelli of Morris Plains and Joe Barrelli of Towaco.

Leo R. Colombo of Boonton, who joined the Marines in 2003; Air Force veteran James Cammarano of Jefferson; and Budd Lake resident Johnny Andino, a veteran of the Army the National Guard also received medals.

Eligibility requirements for receiving a Distinguished Military Service Medal include having served on active duty, not for training, during periods that have been designated by Department of Veterans Affairs and for which a veteran is eligible for battle pins.

The individual may be a current or former Morris County resident, but did not have to live in the county during his or her time of active duty. A veteran must have received an honorable discharge, and discharge papers will be required for proof of service.

Veterans or their family members must register with the Morris County Department of Human Services at 973-285-6866.

The medal is distinctive to Morris County, with the county seal encircled with the words, “Morris County Distinguished Military Service,” on the front. An outline of the county and the American flag is on the back of the medal, along with the words, “Morris County Freeholders Military Commemorative.”

Each medal’s striped ribbon is the color of the specific conflict during which the veteran served.

More information about the program may be obtained by contacting the Morris County Veterans Service Office at 973-285-6866.