KICKAPOO (WEEK) – A veteran from Kickapoo was honored Saturday with the Congressional Gold Medal for his role during WWII.
Joseph Stenger was a member of an elite special forces unit. He died in 1956. His children, David Stenger and Karen Baglieri, never really knew their father. David was only seven and Karen was just one when Stenger passed.
Until December of 2019, Stenger’s family did not know of his service in the First Special Service Force. Baglieri was contacted via FaceBook by the First Special Force Friends and Family Group, letting her know that her father had served in the FSSF.
Saturday, the brother and sister, along with 100 relatives and friends, came to Kickapoo from the Cleveland area to honor their loved one with a military ceremony.
“It’s like all of a sudden this just kind of drops from the sky into our laps. It’s like having a chapter of his life that no one knew about. So it’s really made his spirit and his service to the country come alive for us and all of our family members” Baglieri said.
Military representatives from Macomb were able to hold a full military ceremony with flag presentation, 21 gun salute, And taps. The American Legion was also there to show their appreciation for Stenger’s service.
“We like to honor when a veteran leaves this life for eternal life we like to honor that transition. And that’s why we do it, and that’s why we’re here,” American Legion member, Jim Ulrich said.
As for Stenger’s children, the Veteran left them with few memories, but the siblings say after learning all of this new information about Stenger, along with Saturday’s ceremony, they feel closer to their father than ever before.
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