DANBURY, Conn. -- Two area veterans — surrounded by friends, family and community members — received some long overdue honors in a presentation Monday held at the Danbury Library.
About 70 people packed the Farioly Program Room as veteran Henry J. Stolz, 74, of Brookfield, was presented with medals he earned during his time in the Navy.
World War II veteran Frank Quartermeyer, a 92-year-old from Newtown who also served in the U.S. Navy, was recognized at the event as well.
"We are here to recognize Henry and Frank for their service," said U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, who mentioned that her father was also a Navy man.
"We would get no breakfast until our bed was made," Esty recalled with a smile.
Stolz enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1961 He was an SK3, or a Storekeeper, 3rd Class.
His time in the Navy took Stolz to many places. "We traveled to the Suez Canal, Rome, the Mediterranean and the Vatican.
During the Cuban Blockade, he watched a Russian submarine surface. His ship ran out of freshwater, and the crew had to take saltwater showers, he said.
On another occasion, "We chased around a Russian sub for a month until we caught it. We later discovered it was carrying nuclear war weapons," Stolz said.
Joshua Phillips, district aide for Esty, presented Stolz with his medals: the Navy Good Conduct medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, the Navy Expeditionary medal and the Connecticut Wartime Veterans Service medal.
Quartermeyer, who is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., served as a tail gunner in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during WWII.
"I signed up for the Navy while in high school in 1942," he said. "After I graduated high school, I went to Newport, R.I., for bootcamp."
Quartermeyer was shot down multiple times and was stranded on a raft for 14 days at one point.
According to Jenna Grande, communications assistant and grants coordinator at Esty's office, "Our office routinely works with veterans to help them secure military medals that they have earned through their service.
"Many veterans do not realize they are entitled to medals, or come from the generation with the mindset that service was not about the decorations, but about answering the call to defend our country," she said.
"Many veterans find out through their social network that they may be eligible for medals. ... They call our office and talk to our veterans’ aides and working with the veteran, they can track down which medals the veteran deserves. We then present them to the veteran and their family."
The congresswoman's office can even help families of veterans who have passed away. "If we have the paperwork we need, we can get those too," Grande said.
Esty thanked both veterans for their service. "Too often, we forget the service and sacrifices that were made to allow us to be here today," she said.