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4:38 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

MC Honors Local Vietnam Veterans

Monroe County Legislator Richard Yolevich, of the 1st Legislative District, presents proclamation to the president of the Chapter 20 Vietnam Veterans of America, Valentino Gatto.
Monroe County Legislator Richard Yolevich, of the 1st Legislative District, presents proclamation to the president of the Chapter 20 Vietnam Veterans of America, Valentino Gatto.
Credit Carlet Cleare / WXXI News

Local Vietnam Veterans are being recognized by Monroe County for their service in the nation's longest war.

During a ceremony at the Olmstead Lodge on Friday, county Executive Maggie Brooks declared March 29, 2013  Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.

"You are truly our hometown hero in ways that we can't express," Brook says.

Vets were individually honored with a certificate from the county - as a token of their appreciation.

"It means a great deal for us," says Valentino Gatto, president of the Chapter 20 Vietnam Veterans of America. "There are many veterans here, and families, that appreciate the recognition that's given to us today."

Jeremy Bagley, the director of Veterans Affairs at Nazareth College, offered a personal "thank you" to local Vietnam serviceman as well. 

"You are the generation the made Americans remember that the war and the warrior are two different things," says Bagley, an 8-year Iraq war veteran. "You made people realize that it's okay to hate war, but always love your warriors. Thank you for not abandoning us. Thank you for leading the way and welcoming us home. Now let us return the favor, thank you and welcome home."

In response, Gatto says it's their duty to take care of the younger generation of veterans.

"That's what it's all about. To make sure our current serving men and women get their benefits, the help that they need to get back into life."

A representative from the City of Rochester also presented a proclamation to members of Chapter 20 Vietnam Veterans of America.