In gratitude of his service and sacrifice, the Westhampton Free Library paid tribute to Marine Sgt. Paul Haines, a Vietnam veteran, at a ceremony on April 27 as part of its Hometown Heroes initiative.
In front of fellow veterans, library representatives and public officials, Haines was presented with a proclamation and bestowed the Vietnam 50th anniversary lapel pin as a surprise during a ceremony held at the Westhampton VFW.
Haines, who was born and raised in East Moriches, comes from a military family. His grandfather fought in World War I, two uncles served in WWII, two of his brothers served in Vietnam and a third brother served shipboard in the Navy.
Haines enlisted in the Marines in March 1965 and joined after his June high school graduation. He turned 18 on the first day of boot camp at Paris Island.
During his 13 months of service with the 1st Eight Inch Howitzer Battery, he earned a number of medals and citations, including the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Army Valorous Unit Citation Award, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Post service, Haines opened East Moriches Fuel and has owned and operated it since 1998. He has been active with Boy Scout Troop 24 in East Moriches for the past 50 years as a scout leader and committee chairman. His other community service activities include his membership in the Rotary, the American Legion and the Westhampton Branch of the VFW.
Thank you, Marine Sgt. Paul Haines, for your service to our country and community.