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Posted on: November 24, 2021

A Red Carpet Evening Honoring Smithtown’s Band of Bravest

War Stories

Smithtown Veterans Walked the Red Carpet to Watch the Premiere of “War Stories” Documentary Paying Homage to Local Veterans

On Sunday, November 21st, the Town of Smithtown premiered War Stories, a Documentary film devoted to the local heroes who served in combat throughout various conflicts, at the Smithtown Center for Performing Arts. The production, documenting the stories of local residents who enlisted to serve in the US Armed Forces during war time from World War II to Present Day, is approximately 1 hour and 47 minutes long and will be available via Smithtown GTV and YouTube later this week. 


"This documentary is our way of saying Thank You for Your Service. We hope that over time, we can build on this documentary, as a catalogue of stories from the story tellers themselves. There’s an old saying… that a soldier dies twice: once when he takes his last breath; and again when he or she has been forgotten. Well this documentary is our oath to our Veterans. Our debt of honor... that you will never be forgotten.” - Supervisor Ed Wehrheim 


The Theatre was filled with family members of the 22 Veterans, as well as members of the community, who wanted to show their support and gratitude for the Men and Women within our community who served in protection of our Nation’s freedoms. Residents filled two large boxes with non-perishable items for donation, which were delivered to the United Veterans Beacon House Food Pantry. 


War Stories Cast (In order of appearance) 

  • Bernard Nagel [ aviation machinist mate ] WWII
  • Jim "Red" Dowling [ 2nd lieutenant, 8th Army Air Corps ] WWII
  • Eddy Reddy [ 2nd lieutenant, 8th Army Air Corps ] WWII
  • Howard Laderwager [ US Navy hospital corpsman ] WWII
  • Anthony Romano [ US Army PFC ] Korean War | WWII Occupation
  • John R Steele [ US Navy Seaman ] Korean War 
  • Robert Creighton [ US Navy Aerographer's mate 3rd class ] Korean War 
  • Nick Balducci [ United States Army 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team ] [ 82nd Airborne Regimental Combat Team ] Korean War 
  • Salvatore Scarlato [ B Company, 1st Shore Party Battalion, 1st Marine Division - private ] Korean War 
  • William Harnaiz US Army [ Fifth Regimental Combat Team ] Korean War
  • Frank D’Aversa [ United States Navy Lieutenant ] Vietnam War
  • Jack Toomey [ United States Army |  Specialist 4 ] Vietnam War
  • Ed Wehrheim [ US Navy Aviation Director 3 ] Vietnam War
  • Walter Zawol [ United States Marines Corporal ] Vietnam War
  • Kevin O'Hare [ United States Army 25th Infantry ] Vietnam War
  • Victor Noce  [ US Marine Corps Private First Class ] Vietnam War
  • Jack Stevens [ US Navy Electronic Technician 2nd Class ] Vietnam War
  • Bill Ponce [ US Army Full Bird Colonel ] Kosovo, Iraq War
  • Grace Mehl [ Commander United States Navy ] Kosovo
  • Joseph Zawol [ United States Marines | Sergeant ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War
  • Megan Shutka [United States Navy | Lieutenant commander ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War
  • Eric Ryan [ United States Marines | Sergeant ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War


The Town began production of the Veterans documentary, interviewing service members from World War II through to modern day conflicts, in 2019 on Veterans Day (November 19th.) The film was directed, edited and produced by Smithtown Public Information Officer Nicole Garguilo, co-produced by Brian Farrell and Margo Gordon. Smithtown Public Safety Park Ranger Charles Kang was instrumental in orchestrating the interview process of Korean War Veterans. Additionally, Kings Park resident and Gulf War Veteran Eric Burnett assisted with arranging a number of interviews for the documentary. War Stories has been dedicated in memory of two World War II Veterans; Eddy Reddy and Howard Laderwager, who starred in the Documentary, but have since passed away. 


The Smithtown Performing Arts Council graciously volunteered their time, space and efforts to premiere the documentary at the Main Street Theatre. Residents who would like to make a donation to help Save the Smithtown Theatre may do so online via GoFundMe at: 

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