Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined with Veterans’ Services Director Tom Belton, Veterans’ Services Deputy Director Joe DeCaro, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and members of the Veterans Activities Committee, including Chairman Bill Walls to announce Navy Veteran Patrick J. Keough as the 2022 Springfield Veteran of the Year, and Navy Veteran Robert ‘Bob’ Shonak as the 2022 Veteran’s Parade Marshal.
Keough served in the United States Navy as a Seaman Second Class on board the USS Juneau CL119, the lead ship of the US Navy Juneau-class light cruisers. He received the World War II Victory Medal. Upon his honorable discharge, Keough joined the Springfield Fire Department and served until his retirement in 1991 at the rank of Deputy Chief.
Shonak served in the United States Navy as a Electronics Technician Petty Officer Second Class (ETN2). He received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal/Service Ribbon, and the Vietnam Service Medal and Ribbon with Bronze Star. Upon his honorable discharge, Shonak joined the City of Springfield as the City’s Safety Inspector a position he has held for over 50 years.
A number of former recipients of the Veteran of the Year award joined for today’s ceremony as well as State Senator Adam Gomez, State Representative Carlos Gonzalez, and City Councilor Sean Curran. Springfield Central High School Air Force JROTC joined to present the colors. Mayor Sarno presented the 2022 Veteran of the Year and Parade Marshall each with a proclamation and they also received a special plaque. A moment of silence was observed in honor of the 1990 Veteran of the Year Daniel M. Walsh, III who recently passed away.
Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank the Veterans’ Activities Committee for their continued and unyielding support of our veterans and their families. Special thanks to our Veterans’ Services Director Tom Belton and Deputy Director Joe DeCaro who continue to lead our City of Springfield’s Veterans’ Services Department, providing our brave and dedicated veterans and their families the care, compassion and service they need and deserve. To Bob Shonak, Patrick Keough, and each and every one of our veterans out there, and their families, simply put: thank you.”
The Springfield Veterans’ Day Parade will be on Friday, November 11th and will kick-off at 11:00am from the campus of Springfield Technical Community College and make its way down to City Hall for a short ceremony.