For the last three years, Erie News Now has honored veterans and their families every Thursday night.

This week Erie News Now is featuring the journey of Matt Deniziak, a 1984 graduate of Tech Memorial High School.

He joined the service four years after high school graduation, at the age of 22.

He was working in a tool and die shop when he decided to meet with a local recruiter. Before he knew it, he was off to boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. Matt served nearly 23 years in the U.S. Navy.

"I rode six different ships and three shore commands," said Matt. "First ship was USS Iowa, a turret blew up on there. We got through that and we went on deployment to the Mediterranean. We flew out there via helicopter and it took about three weeks to find the ship." 

There's one moment in his career he will always treasure.

"I got promoted to Chief Petty Officer, which was the happiest day of my career," said Matt. "Making Chief Petty Officer is the highlight of your career because that's when you transition to major leadership roles." 

Deployments were never easy for Deniziak and his shipmates. 

"Believe it or not, I'm still in contact with a lot of friends from back when I started boot camp. Pick up the phone and you pick up right where you left off. It's a fraternity of brothers, brothers and sisters, they're like family," said Matt. 

Erie's Matthew Deniziak, thank you for your service.