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Valley VA clinic to be named for Nunziato

YOUNGSTOWN — The U.S. House approved a resolution to name the new Youngstown Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic after Carl Nunziato, a decorated Vietnam War veteran.

The Senate still needs to approve the legislation with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, saying that should happen after Election Day.

“When my name goes on that building, I want it to represent not me but the entirety of Vietnam veterans and the returning veterans of World War II and Korea,” Nunziato said. “Together, we paved the way not just for veterans with disabilities but for all Americans with disabilities.”

The new clinic is scheduled to finish Oct. 26 with furniture delivered to the facility on Jan. 30, 2021, Ryan said.

Ryan said despite all the partisan arguing, “Congress can still put its differences aside to take time and recognize a true American hero, Mr. Carl Nunziato. The naming of this clinic is a small measure in comparison to what he has accomplished on behalf of our country’s heroes and for those with disabilities. Carl never quits, never has quit.”

Ryan added that Nunziato has “done so much for veterans in the Mahoning Valley” and deserves this honor.

Herman K. Breuer, director of the Trumbull County Veterans Service Commission, said: “Individuals like Carl are rare. He never gave up. I can’t say enough about this individual. It’s a great day for veterans.”

Breuer said Nunziato “broke down in tears” when he learned the clinic will be named in his honor. Ryan added that Nunziato never asked for the clinic to be named for him, but “he’s a role model and that’s why his name will be on the building.”

Nunziato lost both legs in 1966 while in Operation Adelborough during which about 10,000 soldiers conducted a 10-week sweep into a war zone between Saigon and the Cambodian border. After pushing the enemy out of the region at the end of the operation, Nunziato ran across a field to get to an armored personnel carrier when a mortar shell blew up about two feet from him. That resulted in the amputation of both legs.

When he returned home, he studied law and earned his degree in 1971 from the Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.

He was instrumental in getting the current clinic at 2031 Belmont Ave. built in 1991 and the new, larger facility at 1815 Belmont Ave., about a half-mile from the existing location.

Nunziato also has been involved in making sure buildings in the area are accessible to those with wheelchairs, and, in May 2018, the Veterans Resource Center at 633 Wick Ave. was named for him.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced in July 2019 that it had signed a $24.75 million, 20-year lease for a new VA clinic.

The new facility will be 40,561 square feet with the clinic taking up 38,319 square feet and another tenant leasing the remaining space. The current clinic is 25,846 square feet.

The facility provides primary, mental health and specialty care to more than 10,500 veterans each year. It is among 18 VA locations in northeast Ohio.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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