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Thank You Veterans: Howard Palmatier

All this week, NewsChannel 34 is honoring those who have fought for our country in the armed services, starting with Howard Palmatier.
All this week, NewsChannel 34 is honoring those who have fought for our country in the armed services.

Today is Howard Palmatier's 90th birthday. The Greene resident was a soldier in World War 2. For his bravery and valor, he was awarded the Bronze Star, and is the first recipient of one of our Thank You Veterans special recognition ceremonies.

Howard Palmatier grew up in Roods Creek in Delaware County and attended nearby Hancock High School. Shortly after marrying, he enlisted in 1944 and, following training, was sent to the front in Belgium. He quickly saw action.

"I got shrapnel in my face and in the neck. They just sent me back to the medics, cleared me up and went on again," said Palmatier, laughing.

Howard sometimes drove a tank. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was later captured by the German Army in Neusse along the Rhine.

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Howard Palmatier says, "I think there was only about 16 of us left. And they marched us across the river on a bridge. And when we got across, they blew the bridge up. They couldn't get to us, so we were captured."

After a short period as a POW, Howard was liberated and returned once more to the front. After the war, he returned to Roods Creek, started a family and went on to a career as an inspector for the Department of Motor Vehicles. He and his wife had 2 daughters. Howard now lives in Greene where we held his ceremony.

"And it reads here, special recognition presented to PFC Howard Paul Palmatier, 83rd Infantry, Thunderbolt Division, for your significant contributions in defense of our country."

Howard was nominated by his niece Terry. His daughter Donna Possemato spoke on behalf of the family.

"After he got home, my Mom and he had a wonderful little family, my sister and myself. We wanted for nothing. He brought us up in church. He gave us a great life. And, I can't tell you how much more proud of him that we could be," said Possemato.

To recognize Howard's contributions, Congressman Richard Hanna presented him with a U.S. flag that has flown over the Capitol and a challenge coin.

"Thank you for your service. It's great to see you in such wonderful health with your family here, and all of these people who are gathered, who love you, want to honor you. For not just your service, but for a great life and, obviously, a great family man," said Hanna.

Our partner in this effort was also on hand.

"On behalf of the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group, we want to give you one of our challenge coins. And we want to thank you for your service.," said Ken Gould.

And the group Quilts of Valor had a special gift.

"Every stitch is with love and care and gratitude to thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your valor. It is my honor and privilege to present this quilt, your Quilt of Valor, to you today," said Marianne Elliot.

Donna says growing up, she didn't know much about her father's heroism and sacrifice during the war. Though it's in keeping with his character.

"He looks for the good in people. He always knew the moral thing to do and what had to be done to protect our country."

For his part, Howard is still not looking for much attention.

"Just something that the young fellows had to do back then. I don't think too much of it anymore. I have some bad memories, but I got through it." 

And he is proud of his service.

You can see the entire recognition ceremony here, along with all of the nearly 20 nominations we received.
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