Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has named Raymond Mellin as June’s Citizen of the Month Award recipient.
Mellin, a Cornwall resident, was recognized for his advocacy of Prisoners of War (POWs) and the veterans community. Mellin was a POW during the Korean War for more than three years.
“Ray has sacrificed much for his country, and he continues to give back to the community in a selfless manner,” Neuhaus said. “Sharing his experiences as a POW helps fellow veterans and those who currently serve to realize that they can overcome any adversity in life. Veterans need support from, among others, their peers, and Ray proudly provides outreach to veterans. He is a true American hero and I am proud to recognize him as June’s Citizen of the Month.”
Mellin enlisted in the Army in December 1949. A week after he arrived at Fort Dix, he was selected for the Presidential Honor Guard. He could have spent his entire enlistment in the United States, but he answered a posting for a lab technician, which led to his being deployed to Japan.
He had barely unpacked when the United States entered the war in Korea, and he was assigned to Smith’s Task Force, which landed on the peninsula on July 4, 1950.
The next day Mellin was captured and subjected to 37 months of severe deprivation. Wearing nothing but a summer uniform, he was forced to endure the brutal Korean winters where the temperature sometimes dropped to 50 degrees below zero.
More than half of the Americans in his camp died in captivity. Private Mellin survived the ordeal and was freed during an exchange of prisoners in 1953. After spending a year convalescing in a hospital in Valley Forge, PA, Mellin was discharged. He received the Combat Medical Badge, Occupational Medal of Japan, Korean Service Medal with One Bronze Campaign Star, United Nations Services Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Korean War Service Medal for his brave service.
Mellin, 93, worked for Lederle Laboratories in Rockland County for 30 years and has lived in Cornwall for the last 20 years. He now splits his time between New York and the state of Florida. Mellin attended the Memorial Day remembrance events in Cornwall earlier this week, and still shares his powerful story with veterans, POWS, and other groups in the community.
“I don’t dwell on my experience as a POW and I remain very proud to have served my country,” Mellon said. “I am proud to be an American and I appreciate this recognition from County Executive Neuhaus.”
Neuhaus introduced his Citizen of the Month Award, which acknowledges outstanding Orange County residents, in January of 2017. To nominate someone for the Citizen of the Month Award, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a letter to “Citizen of the Month” at 255-275 Main Street Goshen, N.Y. 10924. Be sure to include the nominee’s name, hometown, a list of their accomplishments, why you are nominating them and any other pertinent information.