Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-14-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | NOVEMBER 14-20, 2019 BLACKSTONE 11 BLACKSTONE – Last Thursday, Nov. 7, 10 natives of Blackstone, Millville and Uxbridge, Mass., were honored with the Medal of Liberty, an award recognizing the ultimate sacrifice they made for their country more than 70 years ago. Established by an act of state law in 2010, the Medal of Liberty is pre- sented to the family members of any Massachusetts service man or woman killed in action or who died as a result of wounds received in action. All 10 of those honored last week died during or directly following com- bat in World War II. Family members traveled from Rhode Island and Massachusetts to receive the awards. Board of Selectmen Chairman Daniel Keefe served as master of ceremonies during the presentation at the Millerville Men's Club. State Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Worcester and Norfolk), State Rep. Michael Soter (R-8th Worcester), Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, Brig. Gen. Francis Magurn of the Massachusetts National Guard, Selectman Robert Dubois and Town Administrator Daniel Keyes also participated in the ceremony. Magurn, explaining the meaning of the award, complimented the town on its recognition of veterans. Though the award has been around for several years, he said, there are still many in the veterans' community who aren't aware of it. "I speak to people every day within the veterans community and within communities who have great civic pride who do not understand or even know about this acknowledgement, so when I come to a community like this that pours their heart into that recognition, it is very heartwarming," he said. The award is modeled after the Purple Heart and features a heart- shaped medallion on a purple ribbon bordered with black. The style, said Magurn, is designed to remind people of the sacrifice of both the service member and their families. The 10 honored were: • Seaman 2nd Class Hollis Tabor, U.S. Navy. Tabor was born on April 6, 1907 and lived in Uxbridge. He died on Dec. 18, 1944. His daughter Joan Crawford received the award. • Cpl. Gerald Dumais, U.S. Army. Dumais was born on Sept. 6, 1917 and lived on Mill Street in Blackstone. He died on Dec. 8, 1941. His nephew Harold Dumais received the award. • Staff Sgt. Eugene Trottier, U.S. Army. Trottier was born on June 29, 1920 and lived on Rathbun Street in Blackstone. He died on March 7, 1945. His wife Rita Trottier received the award. • Cpl. Fred Vear, U.S. Marine Corps. Vear was born on Feb. 8, 1924 and lived in Chestnut Hill in Millville. He died on Feb. 20, 1945. His nephew Fred Mezynski received the award. • Fireman 2nd Class Gerald Sarrasin, U.S. Coast Guard. Sarrasin was born on May 5, 1911 and lived in Blackstone. He died on Sept. 9, 1942. His sister Linda Allaire received the award. • Staff Sgt. Edward Chorzempa, U.S. Army. Chorzempa was born on June 3, 1921 and lived on Farnum Street in Blackstone. He died on Sept. 23, 1944. His nephew Chuck Wentworth received the award. • Private 1st Class Carl Johnson, U.S. Marine Corps. Johnson was born on Feb. 10, 1926 and lived on Main Street in Blackstone. He died on May 18, 1945. His niece Deborah Kelly received the award. • Mechanic's Mate 1st Class Peter Zmetra, U.S. Navy. Zmetra was born on Feb. 22, 1915 and lived on County Street in Blackstone. He died on May 28, 1945. His daughter Kathleen Zmetra received the award. • Staff Sgt. Arthur Wickstrom, U.S. Army. Wickstrom was born on April 5, 1914 and lived on Chestnut Street in Millville. He died in action on March 4, 1944. His nephew Carl Wickstrom received the award. • Private 1st Class Theodore Remillard, U.S. Army. Remillard was born on June 29, 1924 and lived on Rathbun Street in Blackstone. He was killed on Jan. 20, 1944. His nephew Leo Remillard received the award. Local World War II servicemen honored with Medal of Liberty By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM RITA TROTTIER of Woonsocket shakes the hand of SEN. RYAN FATTMAN after receiving the Medal of Liberty on behalf of her husband, Staff Sgt. Eugene Trottier. Also pictured are Board of Selectmen Chairman DANIEL KEEFE and Selectman ROBERT DUBOIS.

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