Marino Presents Army Medals
SUNBURY (June 8, 2011) -- It was the birthday present Josette Zielinski thought she'd never receive.
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, PA-10, presented the Elysburg woman with the medals her late son, E-4 Specialist Joseph Zielinski Jr., earned while he was serving in the U.S. Army.
"He used to call me at 5:30 in the morning on my birthday just so that he could be the first to wish me a happy birthday," Josette Zielinski said during a brief ceremony at the Sunbury VFW. "And now I feel as though he's here with me."
Josette and her husband Joseph have been trying to obtain the medals their son earned during his four years of service in the Army.
The young Zielinski died in 2008 at age 26. He had served in the Middle East from 2001 to 2005.
Rep. Tom Marino's office worked with the Pentagon to get the medals and the congressman wanted to present them personally.
“I’m honored to be here today and to present these medals to you,” Marino said. “I’m proud to be part of this and I feel very privileged.”
Several local veterans who turned out for the presentation joined Marino at the front of the room.
Specialist Zielenski earned the National Defense Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expedition Medal.
Marino apologized for the delay. Staffer Tom Cahill said he does not know why there was a holdup.
“At this point we are not sure,” Cahill said. “It was one of those things that fell between the cracks and why this took so long is something we are trying to find out.”