Two World War II veterans will be recognized during a special ceremony at the annual Veterans Appreciation Breakfast and Resource Fair at The University of Toledo when the community honors veterans and active military for their service.
Army Sgt. Richard Perry, UT professor emeritus, and Pfc. David Schwartz will be awarded the French Legion of Honor, the highest award that can be bestowed by the French government.
The special recognition is part of the 12th annual Veterans Day celebration that will take place Friday, Nov. 11, at 9 a.m. in Savage Arena on UT’s Main Campus. Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, a Vietnam veteran who received the Bronze Star for his service as a combat medic, will give a keynote address for the appreciation event that includes a breakfast and fair to provide the community access to military-focused resources.
Consul General Vincent Floreani from the French Consulate in Chicago will present the honors to the local veterans designating them as models of French civic service. The French Legion of Honor is founded on the principles of rewarding individual merit, universal recognition, and contribution to the public good and is awarded to people who have carried out actions of great value.
“It is important for the community to come together to show appreciation for the men and women who have served our country, and this year we have the great opportunity to welcome a representative of the French government to join us in doing so as they recognize two local World War II veterans with their highest honor,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz N. Ghanbari, director of military and veteran affairs at UT.Perry served 57 years at UT teaching education courses and holding various administrative positions. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and was honorably discharged in 1946 with the rank of sergeant. He then earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UT and began his career at his alma mater.
During a ceremony at UT last year, he was presented with the Soldier’s Medal that was awarded for his bravery during a 1945 explosion of an ammunition trailer in Germany during which he carried injured men to safety and removed unexploded ammunition to protect others. Perry also has received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars, including one for valor.
Following the annual appreciation event, UT also will unveil new markers at the UT Veterans Memorial Plaza, an outdoor area that honors individuals and groups who served in the U.S. military. The new Gold Star Memorial and a Blue Star Memorial markers installed at the plaza pay tribute to the Gold Star families whose loved ones paid the ultimate price defending the country and to those Blue Star families who have defended, are defending, or will defend the United States of America.
The University has long been recognized as a military-friendly school for its commitment in providing exceptional assistance and support to the nation’s service members, veterans and their families.
In 2017, UT was again recognized by Military Times in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings and by Military Advanced Education & Transition as a top school in its 2017 MAE&T Guide to Colleges & Universities research study.
The Student Veterans of America UT Chapter also will host an American flag retirement ceremony Thursday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m. on the steps outside the Student Union, where they will share the history of the flag, the proper way to dispose of a flag that is no longer suitable for display, and preside over the retirement of several American flags.
Free parking for the Veterans Appreciation Breakfast and Resource Fair will be available in lots 3, 5 and 6 near Savage Arena. A shuttle also will transport visitors from the event to the Veterans Memorial Plaza.
This year’s event is sponsored by The University of Toledo, Lucas County Commissioners, Lucas County Veteran’s Service Commission, American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, Columbia Gas and Fifth Third Bank.