A ceremony in Brighton this morning recognized a young veteran in hospice care and his veteran father, both of whom served in the same U.S. Army battalion 40 years apart.

38-year-old Anthony Lollio and his father, Marco Lollio, both served in the 7th Army Europe; Anthony during the Global War on Terrorism and Marco during the Vietnam War. Anthony, a husband and a father of three children, served in the Army for seven years, accruing numerous medals and designations. He left in 2004 just before the birth of his first daughter and later learned he had developed ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The progressive, neurodegenerative disease is terminal, and Anthony is now in a wheelchair, communicating through eye-contact and a speech-generating device on his computer.

Roger McLean, Anthony’s hospice volunteer through the St. Joseph Mercy Home Care and Hospice Program, felt Anthony should be honored for his service, though Anthony would only agree to it if his father was recognized as well. Speaking through his computer, Anthony says while he and his dad were both just young men doing tough jobs, they were treated very differently when they returned home. He says he wasn’t going to be honored while his father stood in the background.

State Senator Joe Hune led a dual pinning ceremony at Anthony’s Brighton home today, where he also recognized Marco Lollio, per Anthony’s request. Marco was also given a plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, as Sen. Hune said, "This is a few generations late, but thank you. On behalf of a thankful nation, we appreciate your service." Throughout the emotional ceremony, Marco reiterated that it was truly his son who deserved the recognition.

Anthony has received The Overseas Service Medal, National Defence Medal, The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Army Achievement Medals and two conduct medals. He also earned his Air Assault wings, Expert Infantryman, and Combat Lifesaver designation, as well as a sniper designation from the German Army. Anthony graduated from the Non-Commissioned Officer’s Academy in 2003 and was recommended for an Army Commendation Medal for stabilizing two critically injured National Guardsmen until they were evacuated by air.

Marco volunteered in 1969 as a 67A10 Aviation Maintenance and entered training at Fort Knox in 1970. He was assigned to the 165th Aviation Group, 7th Army Europe. He trained as a photo lab technician, developing and interpreting intelligence and recon photos. Marco was designated as OV-1 Mohawk Crew Chief and deployed to Vietnam in 1971. He flew tree-top level recon missions behind enemy lines to gather intelligence on enemy positions and troop strengths.

McLean says he's never quite experienced someone so inspirational as Anthony and his family, adding Anthony is one of the most admired people in St. Joe's hospice program because of his situation and attitude. McLean says Anthony previously told him he has been able to live this long because he is “surrounded by so much beauty”. (DK)