Posted Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The Morris County Freeholders on Nov. 12 presented Morris County Distinguished Military Service Medals to eight veterans in recognition of their service to our country.

Those who were honored during a special ceremony in Morristown on Wednesday included Army veterans Thomas P. Holzman of Parsippany and Giuseppe Savino of Warren; Peter Russo, a Navy veteran from Madison; and Marine veteran David Keefe of Branchburg.

“The freeholders offer you a simple but heartfelt message – thank you for your service,” Deputy Freeholder Director David Scapicchio told the veterans being honored.

Marine Sgt. Aaron Alonso, a 2006 graduate of Jefferson High School, was also awarded a medal, which was accepted on his behalf by family members. Alonso suffered serious injuries early this year, including the loss of both legs, when he stepped on an IED that exploded while he was on patrol in Afghanistan. He is currently receiving medal treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center.

The freeholders awarded posthumous medals to Carroll William Allen Roleson, a Denville Army veteran killed in action during the Battle of the Bulge, January 16, 1945, and William Hummer, of Mine Hill. During a mission to support ground troops crossing the Rhine River in 1945 during World War II, Air Force Lt. Hummer’s B-24 aircraft was hit by enemy fire, nose-dived into the ground and exploded.

A posthumous medal was also awarded to Frank Anthony Fortuna Jr., an Army veteran from Long Valley, who recently passed away. Fortuna was a Vietnam veteran who will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Jan. 28, 2015, 42 years to the day that the Vietnam cease fire agreement was signed in 1973.

Since the freeholders began the program in 2000, more than 9,000 medals have been presented to veterans or to their family members. More information about the Morris County Distinguished Military Service Medal program may be obtained by contacting the Morris County Veterans Service Office at 973-285-6866.