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UToledo to present Vietnam veteran with his POW/MIA bracelet

When Patty James was a little girl, her mother gave her a POW/MIA bracelet with the name “COL LAWRENCE GUARINO 6-14-1965.”

She wore that bracelet everyday for years, until she remembers her mother calling her to see on the news that Col. Guarino had returned home safely.

It has been years, but James, who works as administrative assistant to The University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs, thought of the colonel again recently when Toledo recognized Vietnam-era veterans. The Vietnam-Era Veterans Appreciation Event June 5-9 included a welcome home ceremony hosted by the University and the American Veteran Traveling Tribute and The Traveling Wall on display in the city.

James was surprised to learn from a video message from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel shared at the ceremony at UT that there are more than 1,600 POW/MIA still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. That’s when she shared the story of the bracelet with Haraz Ghanbari, military and media liaison at the University. After a bit of research by Ghanbari, Col. Guarino was located residing at a retirement community an hour outside Orlando.

Ghanbari is traveling to Melbourne, Fla. today to present the bracelet to the veteran on behalf of James, who also is sending a personal note to the colonel.

The presentation will take place 4 p.m. today (Friday, June 14) at Sonata at Melbourne, 3260 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne, Fla. Today is 48 years to the date Col. Guarino became a POW (June 14) and nearly 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War.

The presentation will include an honor guard from the Patrick Air Force Base near Cocoa Beach, Fla.

For more information contact Haraz Ghanbari on his mobile phone at 202.288.2102.

is UT's Director of University Communications. Contact her at 419.530.2410 or
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