Joe Pozarski, right, is overcome with emotion as he is presented with a commemorative watch from the national DAV in recognition of his 19 years of service to area veterans. Assistant county veterans service officer Jason Dailey presented the watch.
11/14/2017 7:27:00 AM Pozarski honored for 19 years of service to veterans
A local man who has been driving local veterans to and from the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain for 17 years received a surprise Friday near the close of the annual Oneida County Veterans Day ceremony.
According to assistant county veterans service officer Jason Dailey, Joe Pozarski has been driving the DAV van to and from Iron Mountain since the program started in 2000 and was one of three people who started fundraising in 1998 for the purchase of the very first van.
"The transportation program now serves veterans from Oneida, Vilas, Lincoln, Forest, Langlade, Price and Iron counties, saving these counties and the veterans themselves thousands of dollars in transportation costs each year," Dailey said.
Dailey also noted that Pozarski was the first driver to drive the first van to Iron Mountain and back, and could always be counted on when a driver was needed.
"And he did so happily," he said.
Dailey said Pozarski finally called an end to his driving days on Oct. 19 and had no idea he was going to receive a boxful of honors at Friday's ceremony in recognition of his many years of service to local veterans.
First, Dailey presented Pozarski with a certificate of appreciation and plaque from himself and county veterans service officer Tammy Walters. Pozarski was then presented with a recognition award from the Department of Veterans Affairs at the Iron Mountain medical center for his voluntary service. He also received certificates from the Michigan DAV offices, and a certificate of merit from the national DAV.
Pozarski was overcome with emotion when Dailey presented him with a special commemorative watch from the national DAV.
"All I can say is thank you for all that you have done for all of us," Dailey said.
"Thank you, I didn't expect all of this," Pozarski said. "I got so much pleasure out of driving in the van and taking people up to Iron Mountain and the camaraderie of the whole thing. And I miss it already."
Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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