Stafford Mayor Defends Military Record
The Mayor of Stafford Township is fiercely defending his military service record after he's accused of padding it on a campaign web site.
Mayor John Spodofora bristles at accusations that he's not a Vietnam War Veteran and that he lied about receiving a Medal of Valor, which isn't a United States military decoration. The whole thing was blown up into a huge news article in the Asbury Park Press this past weekend. There are several accusations being made by someone who used to be friends with Spodofora who he says is now trying to run for the mayor's seat against him and it's a politically-motivated smear campaign.
Spodofora says "the award came from an Arizona based hunting club. The Department of Defense does list me as a Vietnam War Veteran and this is totally crazy. I feel betrayed and angered by these claims that have no basis in fact."
However, that's not how Martha Kremer sees it. In fact, the head of the Stafford Township Republican club denies his claims that she has political aspirations. She is even going so far as to submit her letter of resignation from the board because of how hurt she is about the whole situation. She says it began with his campaign web site and brochures.
Kremer says "Mr. Spodofora lied. He wasn't in Vietnam. The Valor Award was issued from an outside party and he has no right to use that. This isn't political. In fact, I think that's a great scapegoat to try and take the spotlight off of him and what he's done."
While Spodofora won't confirm if he was actually stationed in Southeast Asia, it doesn't matter according to the Government. Spodofora had served the appropriate time during the war and was stationed overseas - so he has every right to be considered as a Vietnam Vet.
Kremer says this is something she's fighting for, for her late husband. Kirk Kremer passed away in 2007. He had served in Vietnam and was wounded in 1969. He served in the 173rd Airborne Division. Kremer died from liver cancer and hepatitis C, which his wife says he contracted from his injuries.
"To those veterans who never came home, or came home injured, or died later from their wounds received during war, it is an insult that someone would claim 'valor' when it just isn't true. Mr. Spodofora needs to apologize."
Spodofora says "I'm not apoligizing for anything. A lot of my service record was classified. I can't divulge certain details. It's ashame its come to this. I was close to Kirk before his passing. I wish the rest of the media outlets called me first before running the story the way it was reported. I have nothing to hide. The award is in my office. I have proof. Look up my service record if necessary."
At the present time, it's unclear if the Ocean County Republican Organization plans to investigate this further. Published reports say yes but phone calls made to the Toms River Headquarters went unreturned.