U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on Friday presented Richard Santamaria Jr., son of the late Richard Santamaria Sr., with the National Defense Service Medal in honor of his father’s service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War era.
The elder Santamaria – a resident of Cranston from 1960 until his passing in 2016 – served in France and Germany from 1952-54. The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service during periods of war, and the medal presented Friday replaces one that had been previously issued to the elder Santamaria.
Richard Santamaria Jr. was a congregant at Immaculate Conception Church. He was also active with the Boy Scouts of America and was involved with Cranston Little League Baseball for nearly 50 years.
Several local officials, including House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, former mayor John O’Leary and Michael Sepe, a former City Council member and mayoral candidate and Cranston Democratic City Committee chairman, were in attendance for Friday’s ceremony at Whitehouse’s Providence office.
“On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Sen. Whitehouse and his superb staff for posthumously awarding the National Defense Service Medal to my father for his service during the Korean War … It was a wonderful ceremony and a moment we will treasure forever,” said the younger Santamaria, a former member of the City Council.