Utica, NY (WIBX) - The strong and lasting bond of friendship was apparent during a ceremony honoring a New York Mills man for his military service during WWII.  "What's common about this for me is that people like Mr. Gus...Mr. Preston didn't ask for this--it was you...[you] wanted to see to it that your friend was honored, someone who's work you appreciated," said Hanna noting the special friendship shared by Gus and Preston.

It was fellow Veteran Carl Gus of Sauquoit, who asked Congressman Richard Hanna, (R-NY22) to help him honor his friend, 84-year-old Harrison Charles Preston for the critical role he played as a Merchant Marine during the height of many battles. "This is really...this will be in my passing, this will be at the New Hartford Legion on display and I'll just add that I'm proud to leave it with them so, it'll always be there," said an emotional Preston accepting his gifts. He compared the occasion to another special time in his life when he received his official 3rd Mate Certificate.

During the small ceremony in Hanna's downtown Utica Office, Preston was presented with a congressional certificate and an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol. Merchant Marines were not recognized as official veterans and could not take advantage of the G.I. Bill or other veterans programs, until a 1988 court ruling changed that.