John Biedrzycki became the first person in nearly 32 years to receive the key to the City of Manteca.
Karen McLaughlin, the soon-to-be-retired city manager, presented this prestigious honor to the Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Wednesday at the local VFW Post 6311 in the Moffat Community Center.
The last person to receive the key to the city was none other than Manteca product Ted Nuce in 1984.
“He had just won the national bull-riding championship,” recalled Councilman John Harris, who was on hand for that presentation.
Biedrzycki is a national figure, serving as the top official for VFW for the past year.
The retired educator from Pittsburgh, PA, had planned a trip to Sacramento later this week. His itinerary called for stops Stockton, Turlock, Modesto and Ripon. Manteca was not on the initial list, according to local VFW Commander Carlon Perry.
It took a bit of urging on his part.
“We did well for ourselves,” he said following Biedrzycki’s stopover at new facility.
He credited Friends of the Post for helping out with this special occasion with about 125 in attendance.
The local post also presented Biedrzycki with a gift basket consisting of local products such as wines, almonds and honey.
The special guest of honor spoke of patriotism, in particular, honoring those who have their country.
“Every day should be Veterans Day and not just that one day of the year,” Biedrzycki said.
In this presidential election year, he’s not yet thrown his support to the Democrats or the Republicans.
“I’m a veteran. I’m concerned with what politicians do for veterans. I’m for those who support the veterans,” said Biedrzycki, who served in the US Army from 1967 to 1970.
In Korea, he was a Pay Distribution Specialist with the 7th Infantry.
Biedrzycki was decorated with the National Defense Service ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Korean Defense Medal.
Now, he has the key to the City of Manteca.