Richard "Dick" Paul, a lifelong resident of Marcellus and grandfather of Petty Officer 1st class Jon Hardenburgh, also of Marcellus, were visited by an angel.
Flight demonstration team The Blue Angels recently received a very special visit from Capt. Ben Robins, an F-16 Fighting Eagle pilot stationed with the "Boys from Syracuse," the 174th Fighter Wing in Mattydale. Capt. Robins had flown his warplane to an air show in New Kingstown, R.I. where the Blue Angels were heading the aerial demonstration for the show to demonstrate to the public his fighter's capabilities.
He learned of Hardenburgh's and his grandfather's experience serving in the Army Air Corps circa World War II. Robins expressed an interest in meeting a veteran flyer from that era, and Dick was equally excited at the thought of meeting a modern air warrior. Dick was also interested in getting a photograph taken with himself, his grandson and Robins, and have it autographed for his collection.
Dick served his country as an aircraft mechanic, and later served as the commanding general's personal aide, after which he was honorably discharged and moved back to his beloved home in Marcellus to marry his high school sweetheart, Hazel Palen. Together they raised two sons and four daughters.
The war was never far from Dick's mind, however, and he became a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Like most veterans, Dick had many stories to share and great insight into the conflict he so valiantly fought for.
Dick's grandson, Petty Officer Hardenburgh, had this to say:
"At 1:30 p.m. Monday morning, my grandfather rejoined his Hazel in heaven, just one week after fulfilling his great desire of meeting Captain Robins. His life has been complete," Hardenburgh said. "This closes the last chapter. Now he can rest in peace. Richard Paul, Well done, you stand relieved, sir. We have the watch. We love you."