At The Bristal Assisted Living, we are honored to serve those who have served our country. There are dozens of veterans living in The Bristal communities, each with their own incredible stories. In this blog, we will highlight the stories of Charles Lauer, Loretta Paskor, Robert Dickinson and Larry Tamaroglio.
Charles Lauer was only 17 years old when he enlisted in the US Navy. He served during World War II from 1944 to 1946. Charles was stationed in Tokyo Bay on the USS Chicago on September 2, 1945 – the day Japan surrendered. It was a moment of victory for the United States, but Charles recalled from that day, “There was no big celebration, just a sense of relief for the first time in a long time.”
Charles’s trip back home from Japan was a 16-day long voyage, but the seas were so rough that they were not allowed topside for 12 of the days. “One night, when I was on duty as the Captain’s Messenger, the ship tilted to 48 degrees! The ship could only handle a 54-degree tilt. We were lucky to make it home in one piece,” Charles said.
After his time in the US Navy, Charles pursued a career in education and eventually became a Superintendent for multiple Suffolk County school districts. Recently, Charles was honored at the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage during a ceremony commemorating the Japanese surrender. Thank you for your service, Charles.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Loretta Paskor, like many other Americans, wanted to find a way to help the United States fight back. As her male friends were drafted, she remembers asking “Well, why can only men go?” Loretta finally found a way in, the US Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services "WAVES" Program. She enlisted in 1942, on her birthday.
Loretta moved to Washington D.C. and was assigned the role of Storekeeper for the Navy. Her unit was responsible for behind the scenes work such as issuing repair parts and general supplies, stocking and ordering uniforms, maintaining financial records and more. “Everyone had their job to do to end the war,” Loretta said.
After her time with the Navy, Loretta attended Brooklyn College and went on to join the NYPD. There too, she faced challenges for being a woman, but eventually she was promoted to Sergeant in the Juvenile Aid Bureau. Loretta recently celebrated her 100th birthday. She has lived an extraordinary life filled with breaking boundaries and trailblazing a path for women. Thank you for your service, Loretta.
At age 17, Robert “Bob” Dickinson had just graduated from high school. He was a volunteer fireman, and he worked for his father's electrical company. Looking for a new adventure, Bob enlisted in the US Navy in 1942. After some time in training, he was assigned to the USS Queenfish, a newly commissioned attack submarine, as a Seaman Second Class. The USS Queenfish was sent to the Pacific to join a convoy of ships and submarines.
In 1944, the USS Queenfish was called on a mission to rescue prisoners of war from the SS Rakuyō Maru, a Japanese ship that was sunk by The United States. Bob and his crew rescued 19 survivors who had been stuck at sea for five days. The crew gave the survivors clothes, food, and medical treatment. Bob remembers this mission fondly, "Rescuing those prisoners was the best thing we did, it was something that was good. Really good." A few months later, one survivor’s family sent a thank you letter to Bob’s parents’ house. At that time, Bob's mother didn’t even know he was in the Pacific Ocean.
Bob excelled onboard; he spotted more enemy ships than any other crew member. He received a letter from Chester W. Nimitz, the leading US Navy authority on submarines, and a citation to heroism from James Forrestal, the United States Secretary of the Navy.
After the war, Bob went back to working for his father and ended up taking over the family business. He remained a volunteer firefighter and recently, Bob was honored by The Valley Stream Nassau Hook & Ladder Company as their oldest member at 98 years old. Thank you for your service, Bob.
Larry Tamaroglio has a unique story about his time in the service. Larry served as a Captain for the US Army Dental Core from 1961-1963 during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in South Korea at Camp Humphreys and served as a dentist for thousands of soldiers.
During his time at Camp Humphreys, Larry met and fell in love with Yi Ok Nan, who now goes by Jean. Jean was working at Camp Humphreys for the US Government as a waitress. Their first date didn’t go as planned when they attempted to leave the base together and were stopped because Larry didn’t have proper identification. After a few weeks, and a new Korean license for Larry, they went on their second-first date and fell in love. They married in Seoul, South Korea and came back to the United States together when Larry’s time in the Army had finished. Thank you for your service, Larry.
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
– Elmer Davis
Thank you, Charles, Loretta, Bob, and Larry, for your hard work, dedication, and service to our country. Your sacrifices to ensure citizens safety and freedom will never be forgotten. Thank you for choosing The Bristal Assisted Living as your home.
Happy Veterans Day.
Can Veterans Benefits Pay for Assisted Living?
Many veterans don’t realize they may be eligible for Veterans Administration (VA) benefits that can help pay for senior living. Learn more about VA benefits here