Petzel: Korean War veteran celebrates 84th birthday in Korea
By Cheryl Petzel Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org August 22, 2013 4:18PM
Vietnam veteran Tom Miller, of Worth, and Korean War veteran Dan Teoro, of Oak Lawn, salute during the Pledge of Allegiance Nov. 10, 2011, during a Veterans Day assembly at Liberty Junior High in Burbank. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Greetings! Dan Teoro, a Korean War veteran, turned 84 on July 28. His birthday coincided with the 60th anniversary of the official cease fire of the Korean War.
At 84, Dan’s memory is still sharp as he recalls his life during the war.
“I’d just turned 23 when I was drafted on Oct. 6, 1952. I was married to my wife, Lillian, for just three months, and I was working at a Ford garage at 6900 S. Vincennes Ave.,” Teoro said.
After spending 16 weeks in basic training, he headed to Korea as a combat engineer, laying and clearing land mines. He earned $45 a month for combat pay.
“Before landing in Korea, we stopped in Japan to get our rifles, ammo and change clothes. When we left Japan, they were playing ‘Anchors Aweigh’,” he said.
When he landed in Korea, the reality of war hit Teoro hard.
“We were heading into North Korea, and my first jolt of the ravage of war was when we had to pick up injured soldiers and put a red cross on them to be taken to the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital,” he said.
“The war lasted three years and a month. On July 27, 1953, at 10 a.m., we were told to cease fire because they were signing the truce. We were told to stay where we are and no one makes a move. Then, on July 28, my birthday, it was official,” Teoro said. “I spent the next seven months putting up fences in the Demilitarized Zone, which runs along the 38th Parallel, and divided North and South Korea. I went home on April 1, 1954.”
Fast forward 60 years to July 27, 2013, when Teoro returned to Korea with other veterans to mark the anniversary of the truce.
“Our trip was sponsored by the Sae Eden Presbyterian Church. We were in Korea for five days, plus two days for traveling,” he said. “The church paid for all our expenses — air, hotel, everything. We had vets from five nations — the U.S., Canada, Australia, Turkey and New Zealand — and the youngest vet was 79.
“We spent a day visiting a Navy ship that was torpedoed and broke into two pieces. They’re making it into a monument,” he said.
Toreo described the Korean people as “so welcoming. No other nation thanks you as much as the Korean people do. The Korean government gave all of us medals.”
Teoro is proud that he has been able to celebrate two of his birthdays while in Korea.
Here are this week’s featured celebrity announcements: Esperanza and Bruce Kelly wish their daughter, Sarah, a happy 8th birthday. Happy 12th birthday to Dylan Zwartz from his parents, their family and Shelfee. Cori and Ian Ellis send birthday wishes to their son, Jacob, who’s turning 13. Happy 16th birthday to John Neubauer from his parents, John and Sharon.
Also a happy 16th to Dominic Dellorto from his parents and sister, Kristina; Barry Biondic from his parents, Mary and Matt, and Sean, Kevin, Ryan and Fiona; Peter M. Ruane from his parents and Katie, Kellie and Kimmie; and Raymond Vaselenko from his parents, Grace and Ray, Steve, Jennifer, Jaclyn and Rachel.
Happy 17th birthday to Paul Harris from his parents and Emily, Kate, Hanna, Abigail, Charlie and Cinnamon. Happy 17th birthday to Jonathan Metelski from his grandparents, Carol and Lou Opitz. Happy 19th to Jessie Sharon from her parents and family. Pam and Ken Hansen wish their daughter, Mandy, a happy 29th birthday. John Ruzich is celebrating his 31st birthday.
Linda Weigand’s family wishes her a happy birthday. Happy birthday to Sharon Peterson from John, Eric, Nolan, Ella, Boo and family. Barb Ziemba’s family wishes her a happy birthday. Birthday wishes go out to Mary Joanne Ruane and John Ruane from their family. Happy birthday to Ian Ellis, with love, from Corrine and son, Jacob. Happy 80th birthday to Raymond Beranek from his family.
We have a new Oak Lawnian to welcome. Lola Grace Gornik was born to Chris Gornik and his love, Amanda, on Aug. 7 at 12:58 p.m. Their families send little Lola, Amanda and Chris all their love.
Congratulations to Will Petzel and Erica Flashman who were married on Aug. 3. Their families wish them much happiness as they begin their journey through life together.
Anniversary wishes go out to Erik and Carla Martin on their 19th wedding anniversary.
Keep your fellow Oak Lawnians informed about birthdays, special events or special “stuff” going on with your family or within the community. Call me at (708) 899-9544 or email me at the address above.