This year St. Johnland Nursing Center is honored to have a new intern in the Social Work Department who has an amazing story to tell. Maria Daume, USMC, a Trailblazing Marine Veteran, was born in a Siberian prison and later adopted by a Long Island couple. Maria became the first female infantry marine after graduating at the top of the pack from Infantry school. Maria served as a Mortar Marine and was deployed to combat as a leader who received two deployment medals and a star as well as other achievement medals. Maria is even featured in a monument at the United States Marine Corps Museum for her groundbreaking achievements and efforts.
Resident Eugene Castelli, is a World War II Army Veteran who served on the Italian Front. Mr. Castelli joined the Army in 1943 and was assigned to the 3rd infantry division after landing in Italy. Mr. Castelli’s unit met resistance, but was able to push up from Salerno to Naples. While gathering intelligence before crossing the Volturmo River, Mr. Castelli’s unit came under fire and Mr. Castelli was wounded and had to be sent back to the United States where he finished his Military career. Mr. Castelli received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, as well as Combat Infantry Badge and New York’s highest military award The Conspicuous Service Cross for his bravery.
St. Johnland has recognized the great sacrifices these service members have made for our country. When Maria arrived to start her internship, she was quickly introduced to Mr. Castelli so that they were able to share in their experience and be inspirational; not only to each other but to all staff and residents!!