Cape Coral resident Ponciano “Poncho” Mauricio will receive the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony on Friday, December 15 at noon in City Council Chambers (1015 Cultural Park Boulevard). Congressman Francis Rooney will present the award to Mauricio, who also celebrated his 100th birthday on November 17. Lt. Gen. Gary Speer and Bryan Ramos, Executive Board member of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, will be joining Congressman Rooney.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor. The Gold Medal memorializes the service and sacrifice of the more than 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers during WW II. The bill to grant the Gold Medal to these veterans was signed into law by President Obama in 2016. Major Mauricio was unable to attend the award ceremony in Washington DC in October.
Mauricio served in the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE) from October 7, 1941 until June 30, 1946. He was a prisoner of war and survivor of the “Bataan Death March” in 1942. He served under the 11th Engineer Battalion of the Army in Pangasinan, Philippines. At the close of World War II, he earned the rank of “Major.”
Major Mauricio immigrated to the United States in 1948. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture Engineering from the Catholic University in 1952. He worked for the Army Corp of Engineers and moved to Silver Spring, MD. He retired in 1980 and moved to Florida in 1985.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony. Council Chambers will be open at 11 a.m. and seating is limited. The City will broadcast the medal ceremony on CapeTV Channel 98 (Comcast) and Channel 94 (Prism). The ceremony also will be available via live stream at www.cape-tv.com