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Chris Jacobs honors Veteran of the Month Dennis Smilinich


Tue, Dec 12th 2017 02:45 pm
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, left, with retired U.S. Army veteran Dennis Smilinich.
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, left, with retired U.S. Army veteran Dennis Smilinich.
City of Tonawanda resident recognized for service to country and community
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs announced City of Tonawanda resident and retired U.S. Army veteran Dennis Smilinich was selected as the 60th Senate District Veteran of the Month for December. Jacobs made the announcement and presented Smilinich with a proclamation at a meeting of the Tonawanda's American Legion Post 264.
"A recipient of the Bronze Star and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Dennis served with great valor in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam," Jacobs said. "That same courage and commitment has marked his service to his community since his retirement from active duty almost 30 years ago, making him an ideal choice for this honor."
Smilinich began his 21-year career in the Army in January of 1969. While with the 101st, he served as a paratrooper and a "tunnel rat," a moniker given to infantrymen who performed very dangerous underground search and destroy missions. When he retired in 1990, he held the rank of first sergeant in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York.
In his post-military life, Smilinich has been an outstanding leader in the veteran community, Jacobs' camp said He is a past commander of the Erie County American Legion and the Tonawanda's American Legion Post 264. A life member of the Disabled American Veterans, he is also a member of the Vietnam Veterans Chapter No. 77 where he serves as chair of the "Remembering Vietnam Memorial Committee." In that role, he was instrumental in bringing a combat helicopter to Veterans Park. He also serves as vice chairman of the Twin Cities Veterans Council, which organizes Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies.
Smilinich is an active volunteer with numerous youth, charity and community organizations, including Tonawanda Football Booster Club, Tonawanda 2020 and Lindsay's Legacy.
"I am very pleased to recognize Dennis for his exceptional service to his country and his leadership in serving his community," Jacobs said.

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