Town Supervisor Laura Gillen honored Malverne native and Rockville Centre Firefighter John Atwell with this year’s Town of Hempstead Veterans Civilian Service Award at the Town’s Veterans Salute Program on June 29. West Hempstead resident and Vietnam veteran Carl Johnson was also honored that night with Veterans Medal.
Atwell was born and raised in Malverne and is a longtime resident of Rockville Centre along with his wife, Ellen, and their five children. Atwell was a member of the NYPD before transferring to the FDNY where he rose to the rank of captain. He has also been an active, integral part of the Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department.
Atwell’s support of veterans is multifaceted. He is an avid supporter of Wounded Warriors, and has been an integral part of the Gary Sinise Foundation and its support of the military service members. In addition, as a proud member of the Vigiano Group he has provided support and comfort to military members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Johnson bravely served our country in Vietnam with the U.S. Army, 1st Calvary Division, Air Assault and upon his return to New York, his commitment to his fellow veterans continued to soar. He became extremely involved in helping the veteran community as a member of the VFW Post 455 in Elmont.
Johnson was president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 82 during the mid-1990s, and took part in various functions to ensure his support for veterans. He has been an active member of the Veterans Stand Down since its inception, and is always there to lend a helping hand to veterans in the community.
Recently, Johnson worked with his alma mater, Sewanhaka High School where he joined other members of the Class of 1967 to meet with the current seniors to discuss their experiences at the high school and the impact of the Vietnam War. In addition, the alumni presented the school with shadowboxes, which included distinctions, honors and awards on behalf of nine Sewanhaka alumni who lost their lives in service during the war.
Compiled by Nakeem Grant