BAYONNE, NJ – Service to his country in the military and countless hours of volunteering for veterans’ and other organizations have culminated in John Nicaretta being named Bayonne’s Veteran of the Year.
Nicaretta served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War from 1951 to ’53 and rose to the rank of sergeant.
He was honored during a special luncheon by the County of Hudson at Casino in the Park in Jersey City on May 26. Ten other individuals, one from each municipality, were also honored.
Nicaretta is a member of the New Jersey Catholic War Veterans Hall of Fame, has held many leadership positions in Catholic War Veterans Post 1612 in Bayonne, and is a member of the Korean War Veterans. He is well known for visiting hospitalized veterans and organizing blood drives.
Mayor James Davis said he nominated the unassuming Nicaretta knowing that he does not seek the spotlight.
“We were actually worried he wouldn’t accept it,” Davis said. “We had to talk to him.”
But city officials made their case, and Nicaretta obliged them.
“It’s an honor to be chosen for the city,” Nicaretta said. “For me to be picked, it’s great.”
“He’s everywhere. Anytime I need anything with helping seniors, Mr. Nicaretta is there,” Davis said. “He deserves this honor in more ways than one.”
Davis said that Nicaretta is known as one of Bayonne’s “Three Amigos,” a trio of veterans still heavily active in community affairs. Frank Perrucci, founder of the Concerned Citizens of Bayonne, and Louis Giovanni Sr., named Bayonne’s Senior Citizen of the Year last week, are the other two amigos.
Nicaretta is also a member of the Bayonne Chapter of Unico, the Sons of Italy, and the Concerned Citizens. He was an active member of the former Our Lady of Assumption Parish.
He also made his mark as a businessman in the Peninsula City, forming the Nicaretta Construction Company with his brother, Gino, in 1970. Nicaretta had gained business experience from his family’s operation of Balbo’s Restaurant and the Balbo Concrete Construction Company.
He was married to the late Helen Draganchuk Nicaretta, and has two children; John and Catherine.