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TIPA’s Hector Garza was a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving 2001-05 in Japan and Thailand, and 2007-08 in Fallujah, Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Arthur Toufayan, chef-owner of Cafe Amici in Wyckoff, NJ, and Red Cedar Market in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist in the Special Operations Unit Division of the U.S. Army. He earned three Meritorious Medals, two Achievement Honor Awards and an Overseas Tour Ribbon, along with two Distinguished Medals for Expert Marksmanship with rifle and pistol. Upon his Honorable Discharge, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and began his career as a chef. CMI’s Tom Bellamy served on the USS Constellation (CV-64) 1992-96 as an Aviation Boatswains Mate (Handler) Second Class (E-5). In 1995 he was the “Warrior of the Year” and awarded the Navy Achievement Medal. Joe Sirna of Sirna & Sons Produce was a sergeant in the Army for World War II. He was part of the invasion of Normandy, and drove a landing craft on Day 3. The 96-year-old still goes to the office three days a week. Current CEO of Giumarra Cpt. Wayne Childress in the U.S. Army. Sal Giumarra served as a tail gunner with the 91st Bombardment Group of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, doing bombing runs in Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers over Germany from his base in Bassingbourn, England. Jeremiah Hanna of JGLC & Greene Transportation Co. served six years of active duty in the U.S. Army sergeant (E-5) in Afghanistan and at a NATO assignment in Europe. Ralph Whaley, who has worked for McDougall & Sons for 22 years, served in the U.S. Army 1965-68. Army E5 rank. Gene Harris of Denny's Corp. served in the U.S. Navy 1979-86. He was an MS2 (SS) stationed in San Diego. He made several Western Pacific deployments on the USS Flasher SSN-613 and USS Permit SSN-594. Paul Jaffa of Global Harvest Produce served six years as a U.S. Army Captain, including one tour in Iraq 2010-11. Awards include Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. IPC's Stanley Trout served in the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91. Stan Edwards of JGLC spent four years in the U.S. Marines on active duty. He served in Hawaii and earned the rank of Corporal (E-4). NWPB's Mark Arney spent four years in active duty as a medic and food inspector in the U.S. Air Force hospital squadron. He was stationed at Clark AFB Philippines and Edwards AFB, and was a Staff Sargent. Bobby Astengo (front right) of Peppers Plus, DM3, Illustrator Draftsman, 3d Class Petty Officer served in the U.S. Navy 1978-82 aboard USS James K. Polk (SSBN 645) Blue Crew and USS Simon Lake (AS33). Ron Pelger (center) of RonProCon joined the Army at 18; his father, Albert Pelger, served in WWII at 24 in Japan; and his son, Scott Pelger, served in the U.S. Air Force in Desert Storm. Dixon Rogers, uncle of TPN's Jack Bricker, shown at his 1944 West Point graduation. He fought with the first wave of the Rainbow Division, which liberated Dachau, April 29, 1945. CMI’s Kodey Seigfreid served eight years in the Navy as an IS Intelligence Specialist gaining the rank E-5. He was awarded the Presidential Unit Award during his tour in Operational Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector. Giumarra's Bill Espinosa (left) PFC U.S. Army. Sal Giumarra’s brother Al Giumarra when he was in the U.S. Navy. Roberto (Tony) A. Martinez of Primo Trading Services served 2000-07 in Operation Iraqi Freedom II – Combat Veteran United States Marine Corps. Giumarra Vineyards' David Aquino (center) during his time in the U.S. Navy. Jason Birdsall, who drives a truck for McDougall & Sons, bringing fresh harvest from orchards to CMI, served in the U.S. Marine Corps 1998-2006 E4 combat engineer. Greg Veneziano of Bozzuto’s shared this photo of his father, Angelo (front, center), and uncles Santo, Arthur, Salvatore, Joseph and Sebastian. All served in the military and were members of the produce industry. David Cornett (center), foodservice manager at Charlie's Produce, was a Marine serving in Kuwait City when this photo was taken. Steven Acevedo, son of GreenFruit Avocados’ Dan Acevedo, served in the U.S. Marine Corps 2006-10 and did two tours of duty, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit “The fighting 13th.” Corby Robinson, who served in the U.S. Navy is currently a Giumarra Vineyards superintendent.

Sightings Salutes: Veterans in the produce industry

Each year the nation honors military veterans who dedicated their lives to protecting the United States. After serving, veterans find their way into everyday life, often working jobs that serve Americans in different ways, such as in the produce industry. This year The Produce News recognizes those who served our nation and the produce industry with a special Veterans edition of our Sighting Salutes series.

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