Local veterans receive medals from U.S. representative

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 2, 2018

 Donald Secord, 90, of Shelby Township, received several accommodations March 27, including a replacement for his World War II Victory Medal, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4659 in Shelby Township.

Donald Secord, 90, of Shelby Township, received several accommodations March 27, including a replacement for his World War II Victory Medal, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4659 in Shelby Township.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Patrick Ziemba, right, of Macomb Township, poses with U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell during the veterans medal event.

Patrick Ziemba, right, of Macomb Township, poses with U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell during the veterans medal event.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Donald Secord was 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1946. It might have been after the end of World War II, but Secord still traveled the world as a fireman first class.

He touched down in Saipan, where the Battle of Saipan had taken place two years earlier, before transferring to Kwajalein Atoll to work in the motor pool on landing crafts. The second Pacific Ocean location that Secord was deployed to was right in the area of a recent United States A-bomb test.

Being a veteran of WWII would have been commendable in itself, but Secord, now 90, also was called to serve in the Korean War. When he was discharged after World War II, Secord signed up for the reserves and was called into active duty by President Harry Truman.

As a Navy Seabee working in construction, Secord spent the war on the USS Parle, which was built in Bay City.

After being discharged again following the Korean War, Secord set up his life in Shelby Township, and somewhere along the way, he lost his WWII Victory Medal. On March 27, he had the opportunity to get a replacement for it, along with a few other accolades, at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4659 in Shelby Township.

U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Dryden, held a veterans medal event to honor six veterans in his district who either lost war medals or never received them. Mitchell’s 10th District includes Shelby Township, Harrison Township, Macomb Township and much of the state northeast of Macomb County into the thumb.

Along with his victory medal, Secord also received an Honorable Service Lapel Pin, a National Defense Service Medal and the Honorable Discharge Button.

“It was nice to get these after all these years,” Secord said. “It is very important for veterans to get recognized. A lot of young people today have no history of what freedom cost.”

Patrick Ziemba, of Macomb Township, received the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal 2B and the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation.

Joseph Ladochi, of Macomb Township, received the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Sharpshooter Badge and Rifle Bar.

Robert Bradley, of Chesterfield Township, received the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal and Bronze Star Attachment, and the United Nations Service Medal.

Gregory Treder, of Sebewaing, received the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with Ribbon, the Marksman Badge and Rifle Bar, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Darwin Mondeau, of Lapeer, received the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with Device (1960), the Expert Badge and Rifle Bar, and the Sharpshooter Badge and Rifle Bar.

Mitchell said he wanted to honor the veterans with the medals and particularly wanted to give thanks to the Vietnam War veterans, who might not have received warm welcomes home because of the controversy that surrounded that war.

“Folks coming home from Vietnam didn’t exactly get a big hug and kiss when they came home,” Mitchell said. “The sacrifices taken to serve and protect us every day, it sometimes is unappreciated. A number of veterans are getting quite old, and it is important to recognize them. They have served their country and earned these medals.”

Macomb County Commissioner Don Brown was also in attendance at the event. Brown represents the 7th District, which includes Macomb Township and several communities north of there.

Brown said he was appreciative of Mitchell’s office making the effort to recognize the veterans in the community, as well as the local VFW post for hosting the event.

“This post is an asset to the whole community with the various charity work they do to help promote this community and surrounding communities,” Brown said. “We repay (the veterans) what we can, and we owe them these medals to recognize their service.”