To attain its goal of presenting a Massachusetts Medal of Liberty to all the families of Milfordians who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our country, the Milford Medal of Liberty Committee is asking all area residents for their help in identifying surviving kin of two servicemen for whom no family information is currently available.
The Massachusetts Medal of Liberty is an honor awarded in the name of the Governor of Massachusetts as Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth to the family of any Massachusetts serviceman or woman killed in action or who died as a result of wounds received in action.
The Milford Medal of Liberty Committee needs family contact information for the following two men who served in the Merchant Marines and were killed when their respective ships were torpedoed by German u-boats: Diamantino Moreira Lopes, who served as a Seaman and was killed February 3, 1943; and Walter Franklin Howe, who served as an Oiler and was killed January 16, 1944. Family members could include spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, or cousins.
The Milford Medal of Liberty committee has been honored to present the Medal of Liberty to the families of almost seventy qualifying Milfordians who were killed in action during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. The committee was recently contacted by Ronald Howland, Major US Air Force (retired), who determined that both Lopes and Howe qualified as veterans per the Merchant Mariners Fairness Act of 1997. Howland works at the Military War Records office in Milford.
The committee not only seeks to present these families with the Medal of Liberty, but to also ensure these brave men are added to the Wall of Heroes at Milford Town Hall and their names are added to the list of other World War II killed-in-action service members at Draper Memorial Park.
Residents who have information or possible leads on where to find the family members of these servicemen are asked to contact one of the Medal of Liberty Committee members: Vincent Cifizzari (Vinniecif@yahoo.com or 774.287.0004) or Jo-Ann De Maria Morgan (firstname.lastname@example.org or 774.279.1141). Information can also be sent by email to CitizensforMilford@gmail.com.
Committee founder Vincent Cifizzari says, “We will be sincerely grateful to anyone who can help identify the families of these two fallen heroes. It will be our honor to do the work necessary to ensure each family is recognized and presented with a Medal of Liberty as a small gesture of appreciation for their loved one’s service and sacrifice.”
More information about the Milford Medal of Liberty Committee and this project is available at CitizensforMilford.com.
About the Milford Medal of Liberty Committee
The Milford Medal of Liberty Committee (Vincent J. Cifizzari, Geri Eddins, Jo-Ann De Maria Morgan, Peter Scandone, and Claudia Scandone) is dedicated to honoring the families of all of Milford’s fallen heroes who are qualified to receive the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty.