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Veteran recognized 65 years later

AMENIA — It’s been a long time coming for Sgt. George O’Boza, who was recently honored with six medals for his service in World War II, following a campaign by state Sen. Greg Ball (R-40).O’Boza’s personnel records were destroyed by a July 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in Missouri, making it difficult for him to obtain his service medals. His cause was picked up recently by local residents Lt. Tom Lasher and Patrick O’Connell, who turned it over to Ball’s office. Ball recently became chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs.O’Boza received six medals at a Jan. 19 ceremony at the Harlem Valley VFW Post 5444, where a number of local dignitaries, political representatives and local veterans were gathered. Among the honors, O’Boza received the World War II Victory Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze service star, the World War II Honorable Service Lapel Button and the Expert Badge with a carbine bar.The medals were presented to O’Boza, who is 90, by a number of people, including Ball and Assemblyman Bob Castelli, VFW Sr. Vice Cmd. Rick Butler and Dutchess County Sheriff Butch Anderson, who presented O’Boza with a few additional pins, including several commemorating 9/11.“The gentleman is receiving something well-deserved,” Anderson said.“This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man,” Ball added at the conclusion of the ceremony, “who did our nation proud. There is no tribute we can give that could match the sacrifice Sgt. O’Boza made to our country.”“I love America!” interjected O’Boza, who had a sense of humor about the proceedings.“We got one of these every year,” he said dryly as Butler presented the Good Conduct Medal.“Were you good?” Butler asked.“Ehh … I behaved,” he said slyly, to laughs from the audience.“I’ve waited 65 years for this,” he added after the presentations, contributing a little political dig of his own. “That’s O’Boza,” he noted as a reporter spelled out his name, “not Obama.”

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