Col. John J. Driscoll said Thursday he is humbled to be named the 2015 Springfield Veteran of the Year, but then shifted his comments to the people chosen for the award before him and of his own “pleasure” in helping other veterans.
During a ceremony at City Hall, the Springfield Veterans Activities Committee formally announced the choice of Driscoll for the annual honor as well as the selection ofPaul Barabani as parade marshal.
Driscoll is director of personnel with the Massachusetts Army National Guard, and is a U.S. Army veteran who began his service in 1990 including both Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Barabani serves as superintendent of the Holyoke Soldier’s Home and is a 32-year veteran of the U.S. Army..
Both will participate in next Wednesday’s Veterans Day parade and ceremony in Springfield.
Driscoll said he is honored to follow veterans of such high caliber that received the award in the past, and to serve current veterans.
“I am there to advocate for them and to represent them,” Driscoll said.
Asked what he would urge people to do for veteran, Driscoll said it has been said often and sounds but he would urge the public to thank veterans as an acknowledgement of their service.
Richard Tyrell, chairman of the Springfield Veterans Activities Committee praised both men for their service to the community. Community service is a key factor in the selection of the Veteran of the Year, he said.
He said both Driscoll and Barabani are “genuinely humble, never looking for a a pat on the back” and continuously working to assist the veterans.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and members of the Springfield Veterans Services Department participated in Thursday’s ceremony.
Driscoll’s voluntary activities and service to the community include involvement in the Springfield Lodge of Elks, Melha Shiners, Wilbraham Masonic Lodge, Forest Park Civic Association and many others.
His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, and MNational Defense Service Medal.
State Reps. Carlos Gonzalez and Benjamin Swan, both Springfield democrats, joined in congratulating the two honored veterans..