A generation removed from war, the children of William Gamache and Gerard Gonyea shared their fathers’ stories as they accepted their posthumous medals Wednesday afternoon at town hall.
Gamache, who served in Europe during World War II, received more than a dozen medals, including a Bronze Star.
Raven Reid, Gamache’s daughter, said she could always identify her father in all of his platoon photos by the slight smirk on his face.
“My father was the big jokester in the service,” Reid said. “So he got put on KP duty a lot. He was the best potato peeler on this side of the Mississippi.”
According to Reid, her father was able to make light of the bad situations during the war. She recalled one story in particular when her father’s unit was given spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.
“He tried to eat a meatball and noticed it was really chewy,” she said. “So he pulled it out and it was an eyeball. He didn’t eat meatballs after that.”
Reid said her father never wanted to talk much about his time in the service. As a mechanic, she said he preferred to spend time fixing cars until he passed away at 89 years old in 2009.
“Our garage was overstuffed with tools,” she said. “He could fix anything, he was as sharp as a tack.”
Gonyea’s son was presented with his father’s Purple Heart for service in the Korean War.
Gerard Gonyea was face down next to his friend when they came under fire, his son Darrell Gonyea said. Gonyea’s father survived the shot to his backside, but his friend did not.
Darrell said he is named after the solider who died next to his dad.
“When my father got back to camp he found out he had already been pronounced dead to his family,” Darrell Gonyea said.
The medals were awarded by Congressman Joe Courtney, who called the collection of medals impressive.
“What was amazing is when they were discharged from the military they left and never looked back,” Courtney said “they never did the processing for their hard-earned medals.”
Courtney continued by saying he was glad to award the medals and encouraged other veterans and their families to do the paperwork required to receive them.
Published by the Hartford Courant July 5, 2017
By: Amanda MorrisJuly 5th, 2017