Robert Steel, who teaches social studies at Rye High School, is an active supporter of American veterans.
Robert Steel, who teaches social studies at Rye High School, is an active supporter of American veterans. When World War II hero Jack Vier was alive, the longtime Rye resident was a regular visitor to Mr. Steel’s class. He brought his medals, old photos, and wartime memories. Students enjoyed hearing his stories year after year.
After Mr. Vier passed away, Steel invited Tom Giorgi, a Vietnam War veteran who was willing to share his war experiences, too.
“The amazing difference between these two men was how different they were treated on the home front,” said Steel. “Jack was a war hero and was always treated like one. Tom, who was badly wounded while trying to save his comrades who were ambushed near the Cambodian border in July 1966, received very different treatment.”
When Giorgi and his fellow soldiers came home, they were met at the plane by angry protestors that spit on them. “That story always gets to my students, who truly sympathize with our veterans, regardless of their views on that war, any war. So many of them go up after his presentation and thank him for all he and his comrades did,” said Steel.
His country finally thanked Tom Giorgi August 6. Congresswoman Nita Lowey presented him with the Silver Star at a ceremony August 6. “I was so honored to be invited,” said Steel, “And so glad that a Vietnam War veteran received the military recognition he deserved.”