Soldiers in Smithtown got the star treatment, highlighting their stories in a new documentary called “War Stories” that premiered at the Smithtown Center for Performing Arts on Sunday, November 21.
Filmakers interviewed local service members from World War II through to modern day conflicts, on Veterans Day in 2019. Clocking at 1 hour and 47 minutes the documentary will be available via Smithtown GTV and YouTube.
The film was produced by the Town of Smithtown. Directed, edited and produced by Smithtown Public Information Officer Nicole Garguilo and co-produced by Brian Farrell and Margo Gordon. Smithtown Public Safety Park Ranger Charles Kang was instrumental in orchestrating the interview process of Korean War Veterans. Additionally, Kings Park resident and Gulf War Veteran Eric Burnett assisted with arranging a number of interviews for the documentary.
"This documentary is our way of saying thank you for your service,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim. “We hope that over time, we can build on this documentary, as a catalogue of stories from the story tellers themselves.”
War Stories has been dedicated in memory of two World War II Veterans; Eddy Reddy and Howard Laderwager, who starred in the film, but have since passed away.
“There’s an old saying… that a soldier dies twice: once when he takes his last breath; and again when he or she has been forgotten,” said Wehrheim. “Well this documentary is our oath to our Veterans. Our debt of honor... that you will never be forgotten.”
War Stories Cast (In order of appearance):
- Bernard Nagel [ aviation machinist mate ] WWII
- Jim "Red" Dowling [ 2nd lieutenant, 8th Army Air Corps ] WWII
- Eddy Reddy [ 2nd lieutenant, 8th Army Air Corps ] WWII
- Howard Laderwager [ US Navy hospital corpsman ] WWII
- Anthony Romano [ US Army PFC ] Korean War | WWII Occupation
- John R Steele [ US Navy Seaman ] Korean War
- Robert Creighton [ US Navy Aerographer's mate 3rd class ] Korean War
- Nick Balducci [ United States Army 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team ] [ 82nd Airborne Regimental Combat Team ] Korean War
- Salvatore Scarlato [ B Company, 1st Shore Party Battalion, 1st Marine Division - private ] Korean War
- William Harnaiz US Army [ Fifth Regimental Combat Team ] Korean War
- Frank D’Aversa [ United States Navy Lieutenant ] Vietnam War
- Jack Toomey [ United States Army | Specialist 4 ] Vietnam War
- Ed Wehrheim [ US Navy Aviation Director 3 ] Vietnam War
- Walter Zawol [ United States Marines Corporal ] Vietnam War
- Kevin O'Hare [ United States Army 25th Infantry ] Vietnam War
- Victor Noce [ US Marine Corps Private First Class ] Vietnam War
- Jack Stevens [ US Navy Electronic Technician 2nd Class ] Vietnam War
- Bill Ponce [ US Army Full Bird Colonel ] Kosovo, Iraq War
- Grace Mehl [ Commander United States Navy ] Kosovo
- Joseph Zawol [ United States Marines | Sergeant ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War
- Megan Shutka [United States Navy | Lieutenant commander ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War
- Eric Ryan [ United States Marines | Sergeant ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War