New York State Assemblyman Brian Curran, R-Lynbrook, honored 11 local veterans last weekend for their bravery, patriotism and committment at his second annual “Veterans Hall of Honor” ceremony. Curran posthumously recognized one Malverne man and bestowed awards to the following veterans from Lynbrook and East Rockaway.
Here are their stories.
Nick Camarano, Marine Corps
Lynbrook resident Nick Camarano enlisted in the United States Marine Corps shortly after graduating high school.
He received his basic training at Parris Island, which was then followed by advanced infantry training at Camp LeJeune. His MOS specialty training was conducted in San Diego at the Communications Center School. It was there that he learned all facets of communication, including secret encrypted materials.
A general contractor for 25 years, Nick has served the Incorporated Village of Valley Stream for the past 17 years, the last 13 as the Superintendent of Public Works.
As a member of the Marine Corps League since 1996, Nick was privileged to be a part of the Vietnam Moving Wall, chairing the committee that presented it to the Village of Lynbrook in 2010. Today he remains active in the Marine Corps League Western Long Island Detachment, having held nearly every elected or appointed position. He considers it his honor and pleasure to assist veterans in matters pertinent to them.
To quote former Georgia Governor Zell Miller, Nick believes, “Anything I ever learned having any value, I learned in the USMC.” The ideals of duty, honor, resourcefulness, determination, love of country, and respect have guided him throughout his life.
A resident of Lynbrook, Nick and his wife Lois have three children and two grandchildren.
Shelly Conn, Army
As a recipient of an Army ROTC Scholarship, Shelly Conn spent several years after college graduation as a Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant with the United States Army Infantry stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia. His time in the military was well spent as Shelly created a Physical Security standard operating procedure for the 36th Engineer Group, which was adopted as the model for all Contiguous United States (CONUS) Army installations. He also developed Ft. Benning’s Ammunition Supply Point Military Working Dog Patrol Teams, making Ft. Benning the first CONUS Post to incorporate the use of military working dogs on such a large scale.
During his years with the Army, Shelly held various staff and command positions, including Company Executive Officer (XO), Mechanized Infantry Platoon Leader, Foreign Area Officer Training Division S-3 and Company Commander.
After leaving active duty in 1978, he joined the Army Reserves and remained a reservist until an injury sustained during active duty required him to retire.
A Life Member and 31 year volunteer with the Lynbrook Fire Department, Shelly is a former captain and is currently serving as Department Safety Officer. He also dedicates much of his time to American Legion Post 958 in East Rockaway, where he is currently serving his third term as Post Commander. On a personal note, Shelly and his wife, Barbara, are the proud parents of three children, Melissa, Alicia, and Matthew.
Jack Barlow, Air Force
A veteran of the United States Air Force, Jack Barlow served in the Air Police. Sent to Korea in 1951 with the 5th Air Force, he achieved the rank of Airman 1st Class. Upon his return to the United States, he was assigned to Strategic Air Command (SAC) until his honorable discharge in 1953.
More than three decades later, Jack joined the Lynbrook American Legion Post 335, where he is currently the Adjutant and Treasurer. As a past member of the membership committee, his leadership and organizational skills helped the post attain 100% of their membership goal several years in a row. He is also a life member of Post 335 and of the Lynbrook VFW Post 2307.
Throughout his life, Jack has never forgotten his fellow veterans whose lives were irrevocably changed by injury and illness. Each month, he, along with his fellow American Legion members, travel to St. Albans Naval Hospital to play Bingo with those comrades who have been hospitalized.
As those who know him will attest, Jack’s caring and helpful nature is not limited to veterans. He often receives calls from his neighbors asking for a ride or if he can fix something in their homes, and he is always available to be of assistance.
Jack was married to his wife Joan for 43 years and they are the proud parents of two children and three grandchildren.
Thomas Caffrey, Army Infantry
Tom Caffrey, of East Rockaway, is a member and former senior vice commander of the Robert F. Garrison Post 3350, United States Veterans of Foreign Wars, where his leadership skills have been instrumental in the growth of the post’s membership and programs for more than seven years.
He is a United States Army veteran of the Vietnam War, 1965 to 1967, having served one year in Vietnam with the 18th Infantry, 1st Division.
A native of the Bronx, Tom is a retire New York City firefighter whose family emigrated from Ireland in the 1920’s and raised four boys and a girl.
Prior to his military service, Tom worked for a number of newspapers as a paper handler.