STAMFORD, Conn. — A World War II veteran and longtime Stamford resident humbly accepted his Connecticut Veterans Wartime Service Medal on Friday morning.
“I feel very honored, grateful and thankful for this day,” Joseph Calandrelli, 91, who served in the U.S. Army from age 18 to 21, said from his apartment in The Cove.
Calandrelli, who was born in the South End, began has service in coast patrol in the U.S. He went on to serve in Scotland, England, France and Germany.
His son, Joe Calandrellio Jr., was among the many family members on hand to watch as he received the medal.
“It’s very gratifying", Joe Jr. said. “He’s one of those very humble people from that generation, but you can tell how much [military service] impacted his whole life.”
Once he left the Army, Joseph Calandrelli worked for Pitney Bowes for more than 40 years. When he retired, his buddies made him a special lamp stand that incorporated a tool used in his job. The lamp is still on display in his home.
Calandrelli also was as a bartender at Stamford’s Italian Center — even past his retirement from Pitney Bowes.
State Sen. Carlo Leone, who presented Calandrelli with the award, said the veteran had “wonderful stories to tell” and was very appreciative.
Established in 2005, the award is given to current Connecticut residents veterans who served in the armed forces during a time of war. The award is also available to those who were Connecticut residents when they served their country.
While many who served in in Afghanistan and Iraq received the medal as part of their discharge packets, those who served before 2005 may not know the medal exists, according to Leone.
Leone, a U.S. Air Force veteran himself, said the state has distributed hundreds of medals since the program’s inception. He encourages those who may be eligible for the award to reach out to his office at 860-240-0589.