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'Eternally grateful': Katko presents two CNY veterans with long-awaited medals

The Citizen - 10/25/2020

Oct. 25--SKANEATELES -- Joe Carfagno and Drew Deapo waited decades for this moment.

At Shotwell Memorial Park in Skaneateles on Saturday, U.S. Rep. John Katko presented Carfagno, a Korean War veteran, and Deapo, a Vietnam War veteran, with medals they earned but never received -- until now.

Carfagno, of Syracuse, served with the U.S. Army from June 1953 to May 1955. He earned the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. Deapo, who lives in Port Byron, is a U.S. Navy veteran. He received four honors: The Navy Unit Commendation, Vietnam Service Medal, Honorable Reserve Discharge Button and the National Defense Service Medal.

Katko, R-Camillus, said that Carfagno never received his medals. The congressman's office assisted him and was able to secure the medals.

Deapo, Katko said, didn't receive his medals or the benefits due to a Vietnam War veteran because of a clerical error. Working with the Onondaga County Veterans Service Agency, Deapo revised the documents he needed to get his medals and other benefits.

Katko also recognized the roles both men have played in the community. Carfagno is an accomplished musician who was inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Hall of Fame. He played with the Stan Colella Orchestra, which Katko noted performed at his senior prom.

Deapo has lived in different parts of central New York and held various jobs, including the manager of Skaneateles Marina and the owner of Pizza Deapo.

"I am eternally grateful to both of you, and so is our country," Katko said. "Over a million people have given their lives so that we can have the freedom that we all enjoy here. You were both willing to do that and we cannot thank you enough for that."

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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