The true hero does not seek to be recognized for his feats, and the knowledge that one has been of help serves as enough gratitude in exchange for whatever sacrifices need to be made. However, it is still quite important to let acts of heroism come to the fore, in order to teach younger generations about its importance, inspiring a new generation of heroes.
This is why it is not too late for Salem County to recognize the heroism of 50 veterans who have already passed away. Their families and friends gathered at the Davidow Hall of Salem Community College for the presentation of the Salem County Veterans Service Medal yesterday afternoon. This presentation marks the first time that veterans are being recognized posthumously.
The awards are handed out by the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Honor was accorded to veterans, regardless of the branch of the military that they belong to. Before handing out the medals, Bruce Bobbitt, a Freeholder, expressed gratitude to the family members of the deceased veterans for being supportive of those who so valiantly served the country. He likewise gave them the assurance that their loved ones will always be remembered.
Among those recognized is Jack Shoemaker, a former Navy SEAL. His daughter, Betty Foster, proudly accepted the award in his behalf. He enlisted in the Navy at the tender age of 17, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. According to Betty, her grandparents needed to sign the papers due to his age. Shoemaker received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Navy Cross.
Shoemaker’s heroism was somehow continued through the next generation, as honored along with Shoemaker was his son-in-law, Roy Foster Jr. Jack Shoemaker’s granddaughter, Tammie Mendez, received the medal for her father, an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War.