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April 29, 2012 - United Veterans Committee Hosts Annual Banquet

What: Annual appreciation and awards dinner

Where: Renaissance Hotel

When: Sunday, April 29, 2012

Time: 3:30 reception; 5:00 dinner and

EMCEE: Jay Bobick

Committee Members: Banquet committee: Kenneth C Melcher, banquet chair; Marvin L Meyers, Michael Shapiro, Patti Sampers; Awards committee: Marvin L Meyers, chair; George H Palmateer, Warren Tellgren, Ralph Bozella (ex-officio), Kenneth C Melcher, James C "Jay" Bobick, George Dale Thomas

President(s): Ralph Bozella

Invocation: John Holland

Welcome: Ralph Bozella, Governor John Hickenlooper

Speaker: Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta, with a few words from Medal of Honor recipient George Sakato

Sponsors: Paula Sarlls, Frank and Joette Whiteman, Mortimer Gordon, Coy Ritchie, Charlie Hutsler, Glenn Kataoka, Ray and Jan Hall, Marvin Meyers, Monroe and Ruth Mathias, Morris and Betty Brown, Maria Secrest, Fred Davine, Manny and Marcia Weizman, Steve and Coleen Rylant, Isadore Kozatch, James and Mimi Barnard, John Horan, Jim Lockhart, Kenneth and Sharon Melcher, George and Hermine Blau, Richard and Akemi Spoor, James and Joanne Stanko, Dr. and Mrs. Evin Moss, Bill Doe, Joseph LaNier, Herb Nagamoto. TABLE SPONSORS: Gold: Bank of Colorado; Silver: Ken and Sharon Melcher, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Peak Motor Coach, Air Force Association, Lockeed Martin, Colorado Dept. of Human Services, QP Health Care System, Frontier Airlines, Kiewit-Turner, Arapahoe County, VFW Post I

Board of Directors: President: Ralph Bozella; 1st Vice President: Steven Rylant; 2nd Vice President: Frank McCurdy; Secretary: Kenn Quick; Treasurer: Glenn Kataoka; Immediate Past President: George Dale Thomas; Judge Advocate: Larry Carroll; Legislative Committee: James "Jay" Bobick--Chairman; Frank McCurdy, Wayne Thompson Jr., Jason Crow, George Dale Thomas, Ralph Bozell (ex-officio), Marvin L Meyers, Jack Powell, Kenneth C Melcher, William "Robby" Robinson, Steven Rylant, Nate Gorman--legislative liaison

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress

 Sal Giunta and Ralph Bozella flank the members of the WWII 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Sal Giunta and Ralph Bozella flank the members of the WWII 442nd Regimental Combat Team

The oldest and the youngest Medal of Honor recipients in Colorado have quite a bit in common, as was evidenced by the presence of youngster Sal Giunta and WWII veteran George "Joe" Sakato at the 40th annual United Veterans Committee banquet on Sunday.

Both have a deep commitment to our country, our service people, our values and our integrity, and both feel that they carry the Medal of Honor as a representation of all those who can't carry it, or who never came home.

Giunta gave a heartfelt speech that gave a glimpse into why he had the character to risk his life for his fellow infantrymen, and why he utlimately had what it took to wear that representative Medal of Honor. Mr. Sakato also spoke briefly about his experiences and how he has carried the torch for his fellow servicemen to this day. He was joined by several members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team from WWII, and the salutes, thunderous applause and standing ovation still did not seem like enough.

Past President of UVC Jay Bobick returned as jovial emcee, and Governor John Hickenlooper also made an appearance to declare his support for veterans' initiatives. UVC President Ralph Bozella gave a rousing testimonial to the efforts of UVC recently to get aid and support for veterans within the legislative and political arena.

The UVC is a non-profit coalition of over 55 veterans' service organizations, affiliates and associates representing more than 465,000 retiree/veterans throughout Colorado.

Many awards were presented to others who have shown their honor and commitment: 

  • Lifetime Achievement: Marvin L Meyers;
  • Veteran of the Year: Izzy Abbass;
  • Distinguished Federal Legislator: Congressman Ed Perlmutter;
  • Distinguished Veterans' Advocates: US Senator Michael Bennet and US Senator Mark Udall;
  • Distinguished Legislators: State Senator Linda Newell, State Senator Bob Bacon, State Representative Kathleen Conti, State Representative Su Ryden;
  • Distinguished Service: Glenn Kataoka, Steve Rylant, Michael Shapiro;
  • Distinguished Achievement: Tom Reigle;
  • Meritorious Service: Andy McKean;
  • Meritorious Achievement: Cameron Cook;
  • Legislative Service: Myron Spanier;
  • Outstanding Veteran Service: Jack Levinson;
  • Outstanding Veteran Service Officer: Elise Harrison, Ben Mestas; Outstanding Service: Jordan Schupbach;
  • Outstanding Veteran Service Organization: 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Employer Support for Guard and Reserve:
  • Outstanding Public Organization (serving veterans): 9News Morning Show

A heartfelt thanks to all of these men and women who help us show our appreciation for veterans.

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