The American Red Cross on Long Island honored members of the local American Ex-Prisoners of War chapter on June 9, 2016 at the Red and White Dinner Dance, the annual fundraiser for Long Island branch of the 135-year-old nonprofit. In a special recognition ceremony, the Red Cross paid tribute to Joe Abbondondelo, Ben Chrzanoski, Steve Kirtyan, Joseph Manoni, and Bernie Rader, who valiantly served their country in World War II and were held captive in Europe until 1944 and 1945 under unimaginable conditions. Stanley Kosierowski, who passed away on March 22, 2016 shortly after being awarded the prestigious POW medal, was also recognized. Joe Campolo, Red Cross board member and managing partner of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP, Suffolk County’s premier law firm, was honored to present medals to these American heroes at the event.
Members of the “greatest generation,” many of these former POWs credit the rations they received from the American Red Cross with helping to save their lives. The ceremony was a tribute to the original line of service on which the Red Cross was founded in 1881. For more than 130 years, the Red Cross has been a steadfast supporter of the military and their families. Today, through its Service to the Armed Forces program, the Red Cross serves as a communication link to deployed military members, provides pre- and post-deployment support, and works with veterans in an ever-changing and demanding environment.
Campolo was selected to present the tribute medals to the ex-POWs in recognition of his work as a board member of the American Red Cross on Long Island. Prior to starting Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, he served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps.
At the ceremony, Campolo said that he was “humbled to help recognize a group of American heroes. Each of these servicemen valiantly protected the liberties and freedoms we hold dear as Americans. Their sacrifice, resolve, and bravery continue to serve as an inspiration to us all.”