Pass­ing on a piece of World War I his­tory

Albany Times Union - - AROUND THE REGION - By Terry Brown

Gene Loparco of Colonie, a Viet­nam War vet­eran and veter­ans ad­vo­cate, has re­ceived a be­lated Christ­mas gift of historical note.

Dick Wood of Latham, re­tired WTEN-TV News an­chor and an Army vet­eran, gave Loparco a Nov. 11, 1918, copy of The Prov­i­dence (R.I.) Daily Jour­nal news­pa­per that led with “GER­MANY SUR­REN­DERS,” mark­ing the end of World War I.

Wood had bought the news­pa­per 45 years ago at an auc­tion. Wood said he gave Loparco the historical news­pa­per be­cause of Loparco’s and his fam­ily’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the mil­i­tary. Wood added that he gave the paper to Loparco be­cause of his ties to veter­ans or­ga­ni­za­tions, as well as a way to pass his­tory to the youth of Amer­ica.

Loparco’s grand­fa­thers both served in the Great War: Eu­ge­nio Loparco was in the Army, and Francesco Dinuzzo served in Italy’s army.

Loparco’s dad, Vin­cent, served in the Navy in World War II, and Loparco him­self served at an Air Force base in South Viet­nam dur­ing the 1968 Tet Of­fen­sive.

He added that both fam­i­lies had un­cles, an aunt and cousins who served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Viet­nam War. Among them were Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Louis and Sgt. Edna Pur­cell of Water­vliet.

A dis­tant cousin, Navy Hospi­tal Corps­man Robert Raz­zano of Co­hoes, was killed in Viet­nam.

“I was proud and hon­ored to be se­lected by Dick to re­ceive this news­pa­per in the cel­e­bra­tion of the 100th an­niver­sary of World War I’s Armistice in Novem­ber,” Loparco said. “Since we are still cel­e­brat­ing and re­mem­ber­ing those who made the supreme sac­ri­fice for our free­dom dur­ing that Great War and wars since, Dick knows that I will pass this news­pa­per on, for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, in my in­volve­ments with the many vet­eran or­ga­ni­za­tions that I be­long to in the Cap­i­tal Re­gion.”

Loparco can be seen help­ing and/or tak­ing pho­to­graphs at al­most ev­ery veter­ans event or fundraiser in the Cap­i­tal Re­gion.

An Al­bany Busi­ness Col­lege grad­u­ate and a re­tired in­ves­ti­ga­tor for the state In­sur­ance Depart­ment and Comptroller’s Of­fice, he serves as a chap­lain, his­to­rian and pho­tog­ra­pher for nu­mer­ous Cap­i­tal Re­gion veter­ans or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Robert Weininger Veter­ans of For­eign Wars Post in Colonie, the Zaloga Amer­i­can Le­gion Post in Colonie, and the Tri-county Coun­cil of Viet­nam Era Veter­ans. He is an as­so­ciate mem­ber of the Sch­enec­tady De­tach­ment of the Ma­rine Corps League.

Loparco is a vol­un­teer pho­tog­ra­pher for the Al­bany High School Ju­nior Re­serve Of­fi­cer Train­ing pro­gram; pho­tog­ra­pher, pub­lic re­la­tions and social me­dia co­or­di­na­tor for the Amer­i­can-ital­ian Her­itage Mu­seum; pho­tog­ra­pher and Face­book co­or­di­na­tor for AMVETS Post 35, Rot­ter­dam; and pho­tog­ra­pher for An­cient Or­der of Hiber­ni­ans.

He also is the pho­tog­ra­pher for Blue Star Moth­ers events and Gold Star Moth­ers events; the por­trait pho­tog­ra­pher for Chris­tian Broth­ers Academy; the pho­tog­ra­pher for Al­bany County Honor-a-vet and Rens­se­laer County Honor A De­ceased Vet­eran pro­grams; the Four Chap­lains Award pho­tog­ra­pher for the Al­bany Jewish War Veter­ans Post 105; and pho­tog­ra­pher for Hon­ors Flights, Al­bany pa­rades, Shaker High School veter­ans events and O’brien and Sch­enec­tady City de­tach­ments of the Ma­rine Corps League.

He also takes pho­tos for the Amer­i­can Red Cross, Veter­ans Mir­a­cle Cen­ter, var­i­ous Veter­ans Af­fairs pro­grams, and Mater Christi School in Al­bany.

Re­cently, Loparco and his wife, Linda, went to Wood’s home to present a framed copy of the front page of the news­pa­per to Wood and his wife, Kristin Wood­ward. (Dick’s real last name is Wood­ward; he uses Wood as his broad­cast name.) Loparco has also had larger framed copies made for dis­play­ing at veter­ans posts and for use dur­ing school pre­sen­ta­tions.

“Fi­nally, be­cause of Mr. Wood’s con­tri­bu­tion to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, I will con­tinue to post the front page to many of my vet­eran posts for view­ing,” Loparco said, adding that he is avail­able to present a World War I his­tory pro­gram at schools.

New air­men

Air Force Re­serve Air­man Kah­zon­nie A. Cruz of Niskayuna and Air Force Air­man Alessia N. Poole of Al­bany have grad­u­ated from ba­sic train­ing at Joint Base San An­to­nio-lack­land, San An­to­nio.

▶ News of your troops and units can be sent to Duty Calls, Terry Brown, Times Union, Box 15000, Al­bany, NY 12212 or [email protected] time­sunion.com.

Pho­tos courtesy of Linda Loparco

Dick Wood, top left, presents a 100-year-old copy of The Prov­i­dence Daily Jour­nal to Gene Loparco re­cently at Wood’s home in Latham. The news­pa­per, above, leads with sto­ries mark­ing the end of World War I.

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