The first Warren County Distinguished Military Service medal of the season was awarded in an impromptu ceremony on Friday.
Vincent W. Gruccio, Jr., a Navy veteran of the war in Afghanistan, received the award from Deputy Clerk of the Freeholder Board Holly Luberto, as his parents, Vincent Sr. and Carol Gruccio, looked on.
The Warren County native was in town temporarily before heading back to his home in Colorado; his father had submitted an application to the county Veterans Recognition Program last year in the hope that Vincent Jr. would be visiting when the county’s annual ceremony is held May 4 at the Warren County War Memorial in Belvidere.
The timing, unfortunately, did not work but his award had already been approved, so his parents surprised him by arranging for the presentation instead of having it mailed to him.
Applications are still being accepted through April 22 for recognition at the May 4 ceremony, and can be obtained by calling 908-475-6580.
To be eligible, the veteran must have served during one of the recognized wartime periods beginning with World War I – with service in the theater of operations required for all post-Vietnam conflicts – and be either a current Warren County resident or have been a resident when entering the military or at time of death, as posthumous recognition is available.