Senator Ortt Nominated Sil Dan Sr. of North Tonawanda for his Courageous Service to the Nation
ALBANY – State Senator Rob Ortt (R,C,I – North Tonawanda) today honored World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient Silviu “Sil” Dan Sr. during a special ceremony in the state’s capital. The North Tonawanda native was posthumously inducted into the annual New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame. The Veterans’ Hall of Fame pays tribute to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces whose sacrifices and service has helped to shape our nation and make our communities better places to live.
Senator Ortt said, “I had the privilege of meeting Sil several years ago when I was his guide for a veterans’ trip to Washington, D.C. that allowed them to visit the war memorials. It was an honor to bond with a member of the Greatest Generation as he spoke about his experiences and bravery in the war. Sil fought selflessly to defend our country, and showed gallantry both in the military and in civilian life. It is my distinct honor to recognize Sil as an inductee of The Veterans’ Hall of Fame and memorialize his story in the state’s history.”
Dan’s children were at today’s ceremony. His son, Silviu Dan Jr. accepted the honor on his behalf.
Sue Hempel, Dan’s daughter, said, “My father was fortunate enough to return home after serving our country and live a long, fulfilling life, unlike so many of his brothers in arms. My dad felt it was his patriotic duty to serve his nation and valiantly fought to protect our freedoms. We’re all proud of his accomplishments, and today’s ceremony was a stirring tribute to my father and his triumphs. We’re thankful to Senator Ortt and the entire state Senate for recognizing my dad. This induction into the Veterans’ Hall of Fame will allow his service and sacrifice to forever be remembered.”
After graduating from North Tonawanda High School at the age of 17, Dan bravely left home and enlisted in the Army. He served in the Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force) from 1943 to 1945 when he was honorably discharged after World War II ended.
During the war, Dan flew as a Waist Gunner on a B-24 Bomber plane. As a Waist Gunner, he would shoot at enemy fighter planes, until one day his plane was shot down and he was captured. Dan became a German prisoner of war detained in a prison camp for more than three months. For his heroic actions, valor and sacrifice, Dan received the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal, as well as several other medals and ribbons.
Following his service, Dan worked and later retired from the North Tonawanda Post Office. He was a long standing and faithful member of St. George Orthodox Parish in Buffalo where he was a member of the choir. Dan also served on his church council, and was involved in forming the football team called the NT Loggers in his hometown. He was also a former member of the Deerwood Golf Committee.
Dan devoted much of his time to his community. He was an organizer, sponsor, officer and coach for Little League baseball and football. Dan was a member of the Renaissance Golf League, the National Disabled American Veterans Roll of Honor and the local Disabled Americans Veterans Roll of Honor Chapter #120. Additionally, he was a member of the North Tonawanda Senior Center, Friends of the Riviera Theatre and volunteered with the Rescue Fire Company, No. 5 in North Tonawanda.
Dan’s love for his country and community ran deep, but he also genuinely loved his family. He passed away on May 26, 2016 with his wife Bonnie, their four children, and his many grandchildren by his side.
Biographies and photos of all the veterans will remain on display indefinitely in the Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame online directory. Dan’s full biography can be seen here.