SCRANTON — Thomas Jerome “T.J.” Hromisin has come a long way.
The Pittston native was a 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Army and has undergone years of rehab to better himself after being shot in the head in 2007 while serving in Iraq — a shot that cost him his eyesight and one third of his brain.
Hromisin’s services continue to be recognized as he was honored during a special ceremony at the Center for Independent Living Thursday.
The center, which the 33-year-old Hromisin visits twice a month, provides service to disabled people within the community.
“After I came back home and got settled, they kind of rolled out for me lists of things to do and places to go, and this place was on the list,” he said. “I came up here and got established up here. They found a group for me to go in and I’m still in it now.”
Hromisin was given a certificate for his services overseas and with the Center for Independent Living by District 118 Rep. Mike Carroll and a plaque by friend Casey Walters.
Carroll, D-Avoca, said it’s impossible not to be familiar with Hromisin and his heroics.
“In Greater Pittston, T.J. is a noteworthy hero,” he said. “The community is fully aware of his sacrifice on behalf of this nation. If you say T.J. in Pittston, you don’t need to say the last name. The letters T.J. are enough in Pittston to know exactly who you’re talking about; you don’t need to say anything more.”
Hromisin has also received a Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He was also promoted to Army Captain upon receiving his Purple Heart.
The Purple Heart is awarded to soldiers injured or killed in battle; the Bronze Star is awarded for heroic action during combat; the Army Commendation Medal is awarded to soldiers for heroic service; and the Combat Infantryman Badge is awarded to infantry soldiers involved in hostile combat.
Hromisin graduated in 2005 from The University of Scranton with a degree in Criminal Justice and hopes to put that to use one day.
“I want to find a family, a job and just kind of settle down,” he said.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher