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Burlington County honored the service and sacrifices of dozens of veterans and their family members Friday during a Military Service Medal Presentation Ceremony.
Twenty-seven local veterans from various eras received Burlington County Military Service Medals during the ceremony, along with the families of six deceased veterans who received medals posthumously.
Four medals were also presented to Gold Star Mother Lisa Marie Brunner in recognition of the service of her late son, Navy sailor Benjamin A. Brunner, and the service of her father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
“Burlington County is proud to recognize the men and woman who have answered the call to defend our nation,” said Burlington County Commissioner Tom Pullion, who is the Board’s liaison to the Office of Military and Veterans Services. “These medals are one way for our County to thank our veterans for all they have done and sacrificed. We want them all to know their service will not be forgotten and our County is here to assist them if needed.”
Friday’s ceremony was held at the Burlington County Library auditorium and marked the first time the County hosted an in-person medal ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Last year, the County honored local veterans with a virtual presentation.
“This is an important event for Burlington County and we are excited to be able to once again honor our veterans at an in-person ceremony that celebrates them and their service,” Pullion said.
Burlington County has awarded more than 10,000 medals to county veterans since the program launched in 2002. Any veteran living in Burlington County with an honorable discharge is eligible for the decoration, along with deceased veterans who resided in the county.
Medal registration forms are available at the Military and Veterans Services Office and can be obtained by calling 609-265-5008. The form can also be completed online at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/547/Veterans-Services .
The medal allows the County to honor service and by registering it helps the Burlington County Office of Military and Veteran Affairs keep veterans and their families informed about programs and services available to them.
This year alone, the Military and Veterans Affairs office has assisted Burlington County veterans obtain more than $10 million in compensation and benefits.
The medals program was also part of Burlington County’s successful application for a New Jersey Governor’s We Value Our Veterans Community Award.
Burlington County was presented its award by Gov. Phil Murphy during a Veterans Day Ceremony last week.
“Burlington County is home to more than 30,000 veterans and our County seeks to honor each of them for the sacrifices, patriotism and bravery,” Pullion said. “We’re extremely proud to recognize these heroes, but the most important action we can take is to make sure all our veterans receive the services they require and all the benefits they have earned.”
The following is a list of the veterans who were recognized and presented medals during Friday’s ceremony:
James Brown, U.S. Air Force, Cinnaminson
Nicholas Celentano, U.S. Navy, Medford
Dennis Dalton, U.S. Marine Corps, Medford Lakes
Steven Deleon, U.S. Air Force, Westampton
Karen Franklin, U.S. Navy, Mount Laurel
Wayne Gagnon, U.S. Army, Browns Mills
Warren Garnier, U.S. Navy, Columbus
Raphael Gibson, U.S. Army, Willingboro
Stanley Gunn, U.S. Marine Corps, Mount Laurel
Joseph Hyman, U.S. Air Force, Willingboro
Michant Kekulah, U.S. Army, Marlton
John Kirkwood, U.S. Army, Cinnaminson
Scott Leonard, U.S. Air Force, Browns Mills
Nathalie Marchand, U.S. Air Force, Browns Mills
Robert Mayerson, U.S. Air Force, Mount Laurel
Richard McCarthy, U.S. Army, Roebling
Allen McKenzie, U.S. Army, Willingboro
Deborah McKenzie, U.S. Army, Willingboro
Kent Milliken, U.S. Army, Columbus
Daryl Moore, U.S. Air Force, Browns Mills
Milton Newton, U.S. Army, Browns Mills
Lorenzo North, U.S. Army, Willingboro
Harry Omensetter, U.S. Army, Marlton
Edwin Pagan, U.S. Marine Corps, Delran
Chester Pepponi, New Jersey Air National Guard, Burlington
Michael Prince, U.S. Army, Marlton
Rickye Wood, U.S. Army, Edgewater Park
Michael B. Arasim, U.S. Army, Medford Lakes
Melvin Craver, U.S. Army, Willingboro
Robert Gelbert, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Marine Corps, Marlton
Walter Gibson, U.S. Army, Willingboro
Simon Matyas Jr., U.S. Navy, Roebling
Rafael Rivera, U.S. Army, Delanco
Gold Star Mother
Lisa Marie Brunner receiving medals honoring her fallen son and family members:
Benjamin A. Brunner, U.S. Navy, Southampton
Stanley Corliss, U.S. Army, Southampton
John Malone, U.S. Army, Southampton
George Washkevicz, U.S. Army, Hainesport
Burlington County Commissioner Tom Pullion presents the Burlington County Military Service medal to local veterans and family members during the Burlington County Military Service Medal Presentation Ceremony held Friday at the Burlington County Library.
Burlington County Administrator Eve Cullinan presents Burlington County Military Service medals to Gold Star Mother Lisa Marie Brunner in recognition of the service of her late son, Benjamin A. Brunner, and her father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
The Burlington County Military Service Medal is presented to veterans who were honorably discharged from any of the armed services who are now living in Burlington County or to the family of deceased veterans who lived in the county.
Friday’s ceremony was held at the Burlington County Library and marked the first time the County hosted an in-person medal ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Among the attendees and participants were Burlington County Solicitor Ashley Buono; Burlington County Human Services Director Shirla Simpson; Evelyn Rosado, Division Head of Burlington County Division of Military and Veteran Affairs; Jose Melendez, Deputy Division Head Burlington County Division of Military and Veteran Affairs; Burlington County Administrator Eve Cullinan and Burlington County Commissioner Tom Pullion
Burlington County Commissioner Tom Pullion delivers remarks to the veterans and family members in attendance at the Burlington County Military Service Medal Presentation Ceremony.
A total of 37 veterans or family members received medals during Friday’s ceremony at the Burlington County Library.