Monday, July 2, 2012

Gingerbread Man's Dog Tag Found Near Rome

Here's a great news item: The Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal reports that the dog tag of a 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion paratrooper was unearthed by gardeners in a suburb of Rome.  Sgt Mike Baranek of Akron, a WWII veteran of the 509th PIB in North Africa and Italy, made three combat jumps, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, four Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. The Geronimo returned home to Ohio after the war. He passed away in 1980.

The Italian gardeners, Olga Romagnolo and a friend, sent the dog tag to Nellie Baranek, Mike’s widow, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Nellie will be sending the tag on to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada where Mike’s granddaughter, Tammy Mahoney, is receiving treatment for breast cancer. The finding of the dog tag is viewed as a heavenly sign by Mahoney, who believes her grandfather is watching over her.

For pictures of Mike Baranek taken during WWII and the recently found dog tag, visit the 509th Parachute Infantry Association website's "soldier page" for Sgt Mike Baranek.

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