Marine Corps veteran among '06 inductees
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Tony Feldes, a retired Marine Corps veteran and community volunteer, will be inducted into the Ohio Department of Aging's Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Class of 2006.
The ceremony is scheduled for 4 to 6:30 p.m. May 17 at the Statehouse Atrium in Columbus.
Feldes, nominated by the Mahoning County Volunteer Services Agency, previously received the third-place Silver Award at Medical Mutual's 2005 Outstanding Senior Volunteer Awards ceremony for his community service.
He was recognized by Medical Mutual for his efforts, along with Youngstown historians Steffon Jones and Tom Anderson, in getting the name of a black Civil War veteran, Pvt. Jacob Nixon Robinson, 5th U.S.C.T. (United States Colored Troop) Co. A Ohio, placed on the Youngstown Civil War Memorial, which is on Central Square downtown.
Nixon was from Youngstown, but died in Virginia, Feldes said.
That accomplishment, which Feldes described as a "grave injustice corrected," along with his community volunteer work and extensive participation in veterans groups, earned him this latest honor, VSA officials said in its nomination of Feldes.
Fought in two ward
Feldes served in the Marine Corps from 1952 to 1982, fighting in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was discharged with the rank of staff sergeant.
Feldes is a former commander of VFW Donald Lockett Post 6488; was twice commander of the Mahoning County VFW Council; is president of the Mount Hope Veterans Memorial Park Beautification Committee, which restores grave sites of U.S.C.T. veterans; and is an adviser to the 5th Ohio U.S.C.T. Co. I, which is active in Civil War re-enactments.
For Feldes, fighting to have Robinson's name placed on the monument came down to living the Marine Corps motto, "Semper Fidelis" (always faithful), and his passionate belief that community tributes be extended to all who earned them in serving the nation.
"Every time I marched as a veteran in a downtown parade and went past that monument, I was upset that no U.S.C.T. men were honored there," Feldes said.
"You know, we all have the same blood. In combat, our blood will save each other," he said.
In addition to that project, Feldes volunteers each week helping veterans at the Youngstown Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic on Belmont Avenue, the VSA said in nominating Feldes.
Also, Feldes has participated since 1998 in VSA's Retired & amp; Senior Volunteer Program, mentors children in Youngstown City and neighboring school districts.
Feldes is an outstanding role model because of his work ethic, desire to better the community, and his concern for others. He could be nominated strictly on the basis of the positive image that he projects on aging, the VSA nomination said.