This Memorial Day, as you reflect on the great sacrifice of all the men and women who laid down their lives in defense of our Country, also take time to remember our hometown heroes. We are highlighting two of those heroes this year with the help of Town Historian Bill Poray:
Mario Pomponio was a 1944 Fairport High School graduate who lived on Deland Park B. He was his class Valedictorian, and he joined the military service within the same month he graduated from high school. Within 6-months, this Perinton resident found himself joining a dwindling squad with only 5 men remaining. One day, at dawn, 60 Germans attacked their position, and as they were greatly outnumbered, Mario and the others found reprieve in an abandoned home behind a 6-foot stone wall. The Germans ensued, and the men were trapped. Then, without a word to the others, Mario charged out of the house, vaulted the wall, and surprised the Germans with a one-man attack. The result? Mario eliminated two enemy machine gun crews and took 10 prisoners. In his brave one-man attack, Mario saved the lives of his fellow soldiers, and in fact, likely saved the lives of many more that day. At the age of 18, Mario died in battle only two days later. This Memorial Day, carry his story with you, and share it, as Mario was a hometown hero.
Charles “Bud” Sawdey, was a WWII Veteran and Perinton resident. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, and was a member of the 5th Engineer Special Brigade that landed in Normandy on D-Day. A hero to his country, he received the French Legion of Honor, the NYS Conspicuous Service Cross, and Normandy’s Jubilee of Liberty Medal, among others. A hero to his family, he was a loving father and husband, who was also an active painter. So active, in fact, that during WWII, he continued to paint, even while taking cover on the ground at Omaha Beach, Normandy, in 1944. As the story goes, he hunkered down in front of a statue of a cross, and began to paint with a few crayons and water. As he painted under that cross, a German biplane came into sight, flying low to the ground. Bud wasn’t sure he would ever finish that painting. But soon after, he saw an American bomber in pursuit. Bud did finish the painting, and he eventually returned home and settled here in Perinton. Bud passed away just a couple of weeks ago on May 10th, at the age of 99.
While Bud and Mario are no longer here to share their stories, their memories live on through their families, friends, and all of us who take time to remember them.
Since last #MemorialDay, our community lost more than 80 brave men and women who fought for our country. Please take a moment to honor their memory, or share a tribute to them. #Perinton has so many hometown heroes, and we are forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.
Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello helped honor Memorial Day at Fairport VFW Post 8495. Go to Town of Perinton, New York on Facebook for a video of the speeches.