The inaugural Congressional Veteran Commendation ceremony was hosted Thursday by Congressman Vern Buchanan, in recognition of exceptional service by area veterans, at the Manatee Players Theatre.
The awards honor wartime sacrifices, as well as peacetime community involvement, by veterans within Florida's 16th Congressional District.
The six honorees were Lakewood Ranch’s Richard Petrucci, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War; Bradenton’s David Daily, who served in the U.S. Army during the Gulf War; Bradenton’s John Skeen, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II; Sarasota’s Richard Swier, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War; Longboat Key’s John Brill, who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War; and Sun City Center’s Edward Mahoney, who served in the U.S. Marine Corp during World War II,
“It’s very humbling — so many other people deserve it more than I do,” said Petrucci, noting that he was especially honored to receive the award with World War II veterans also present.
Petrucci had served as a captain in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, and also pursued extensive community involvement, including serving as former vice president of education and director of youth programs at the Sarasota-Manatee Council of the Navy League.
Buchanan said the commendations follow a careful selection process using an independent panel, and that the honor is extremely significant, as it is entered into the Congressional Record.
“It is there for grandkids, and great grandkids,” Buchanan said. “I feel we cannot do enough for veterans.”