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NORTH TONAWANDA – There was a surprise addition to a ceremony Monday afternoon in which the family of World War II veteran Simon Zulia received his service medals.

His son, former Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Zulia, of North Tonawanda, unexpectedly was given the Combat Cross Medal by Sheriff James Voutour during the program in Sikora Post 1322, American Legion.

Simon Zulia saw action in the Rhineland and Ardennes campaigns, which included the Battle of France and the Battle of the Bulge, and once had to pretend he was dead to survive when German soldiers overran his bunker. He died in 1995. His widow, Evelyn, and four children were given his Bronze Star and five other medals by Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo. He previously had received the Purple Heart.

Steve Zulia was recognized for an incident Nov. 7, 1987, when he was ambushed and seriously wounded while answering a domestic call in Middleport. After a lengthy recovery, he completed a master’s degree at Buffalo State College and studied for his doctorate at Albany State College. He currently teaches criminal justice at Niagara County Community College.