County nursing home honors its veterans

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George Hamid receives certificate from state Assemblyman Chris Brown. George Hamid receives certificate from state Assemblyman Chris Brown.

NORTHFIELD – World War II veterans are of the Greatest Generation, and they’re nearly always represented among official military groups.

One place where they’re in the majority is at the Atlantic County Meadowview Nursing Home. In fact World War II and Korean War veterans comprise nearly the entire veterans corps there.

Family, friends and political leaders at the state and county level honored the 33 veterans who reside at Meadowview on Veterans Day Sunday, Nov. 11.

In most news stories a list of names appears near the end. Not in this one:

Veterans Day honorees at Meadowview were Nathan Amey, Air Force; Gunners Mate 3rd Class Edward Borkowski, Navy, D-Day, France and Philippines; Karoline Breder, Army Women’s Air Corps;  Airman 1st Class William Brosky, Air Force; Donald Brown, Army, Air Force ROTC; Walter Chaplinsky, Navy; Private 1st Class Rupert Chase, Army, infantry, marching band; Maurice Cole, Army, lawyer in Judge General Advocate’s Office at the Pentagon; Elton Corson, Army infantry; Private 1st Class Alvin Dickson, Army; Capt. Richard Foltz, Army Signal Corps; James Gerber, Army engineer; Private 1st Class Sidney Grossman, Army, Panama; Lt. Commander George Hamid, Navy, South Pacific; Hugh Hart, Army, Second Division infantry; Sgt. Bertram Holman, Army; Sgt. Frank LaRosa, Army Air Corps; Lt. Phillip Logan, Army; Photography Mate William Maxwell, Navy; Joe Mazzone, Navy, Korean War; Julis Miller, Army, Korean War; Cpt. Kenneth Mitchell, Army, World War II; Cpl. James Mullen, Army Military Police; Raymond Palm, Coast Guard; Airman Joseph Rees, Air Force, First Helicopter Squadron; Mary Roberts, Army Women’s Air Corps; Private William Ross, Battle of the Bulge, served with Gen. George S. Patton; Private Theodore Schentzel, Army Anti Aircraft, World War II; Michael Sciullo, Army Signal Corps, combat photographer; Rev. Norman Thomas, Army 30th Infantry Division; Technical Mate John Vrana, Army infantry, Right Radar Man 3rd Class Jack Verseput, Naval Reserve, Korean War; and Steward’s Mate Richard Wakefield, Navy.

Lorraine Hamid, left, of Galloway with Shirley Heims Grossman, 87, of Egg Harbor Township. Hamid’s father-in-law, George Hamid, and Grossman’s husband Sidney Grossman. Both women have long family ties to Atlantic City. Hamid’s grandfather, Placidino DeSalvo, owned a concrete company that built many of the city’s landmarks. Grossman’s mother was born in Atlantic City. Lorraine Hamid, left, of Galloway with Shirley Heims Grossman, 87, of Egg Harbor Township. Hamid’s father-in-law, George Hamid, and Grossman’s husband Sidney Grossman. Both women have long family ties to Atlantic City. Hamid’s grandfather, Placidino DeSalvo, owned a concrete company that built many of the city’s landmarks. Grossman’s mother was born in Atlantic City.

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson called the names and certificates, dog tags and caps were passed out by Assemblyman Chris Brown and Freeholders Frank Formica and Frank Sutton with assistance from Atlantic County Veterans Services Officer Bob Frolow of Egg Harbor Township.

Levinson gave “the shortest political speech ever” as he turned to the veterans, seated together, and said, “Thank you for your service.”

Among those singled out by Levinson were former Margate Mayor William Ross, “another in the Who’s Who of Atlantic City, Rev. Norman Thomas,” and “the legendary George Hamid.”

Hamid, whose family owned Atlantic City’s Steel Pier in its glory days, said he was in the service during the entirety of World War II. He reached the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy and was part of the team that directed about 200 sailors.

“You got promoted fast during the war years,” Hamid said. “They needed officers.”

Atlantic County Freeholder Director Frank Formica salutes veterans at Meadowview Nursing Home as he passes through the public guests. Atlantic County Freeholder Director Frank Formica salutes veterans at Meadowview Nursing Home as he passes through the public guests.

He said he started his military career as an ensign.

“I had already graduated from Princeton in 1940 and enlisted in officers training school,” said Hamid who will turn 94 on Nov. 25. “Pearl Harbor occurred while I was in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. I was also in midshipman’s school. (Pearl Harbor) didn’t change my program at all.”

He said his father, George A. Hamid Sr., a noted circus acrobat in his youth, owned Million Dollar Pier in Atlantic City during the war.

“He bought Steel Pier in 1945 after the peace was signed,” Hamid said. “I came right out of the service to a job as theater manager on Steel Pier. My father had a booking business where I worked after the war at the same time that I was theater manager.”

He said he saw a lot of the World during his stint in the Navy.

“I was about anyplace you can think of in the Pacific,” Hamid said. “Saipan, the Philippines – you name it.”

He praised the program recognizing him and his fellow veterans.

“Most of us are bed-ridden, in our 90s,” Hamid said. “I’m very fortunate to have lived this long.”

He said the residents have it pretty good at Meadowview.

Hamid enjoys company and gets surprise visitors from time to time.

“They’ll just come in and introduce themselves,” Hamid said. “They mostly remember the Steel Pier from their youth.”

Atlantic County Veterans Services Officer Bob Frolow holds his hat while Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson introduces the color guard to his left. Atlantic County Veterans Services Officer Bob Frolow holds his hat while Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson introduces the color guard to his left.

Officials stand in honor during presentations, From left are Atlantic County Veterans Services Officer Bob Frolow, state Assemblyman Chris Brown, County Executive Dennis Levinson and Freeholder Director Frank Formica. Officials stand in honor during presentations, From left are Atlantic County Veterans Services Officer Bob Frolow, state Assemblyman Chris Brown, County Executive Dennis Levinson and Freeholder Director Frank Formica.

 


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