For years, Donna Malone, of Medford, wore the POW bracelet of a man she had never met, yet cared for very deeply. Albert Milano, of Melville, kept a letter from the same man - Army Staff Sgt. Richard Perricone - for more than 30 years. He read it to his 11-year-old son, A.J., a few months ago. Long Islanders who more than three decades ago wrote letters and wore bracelets on behalf of GI prisoners of war in Vietnam learned a week ago in Newsday that one of Long Island's own is alive and well, and living in Florida. "It was extremely emotional," said Malone, 52, when she read that Perricone had been alive all these years. She was given Perricone's POW bracelet by nuns as an eighth-grader at Sacred Heart School in Cambria Heights, Queens. During the Vietnam War, millions of Americans wore bracelets honoring individual American prisoners of war. "I wore his bracelet for years until I wore out the inside of it," said Malone, who still has the bracelet at her Medford home. "But I never found out what happened to him." Newsday wrote about Perricone's nearly six-year ordeal as a prisoner of war - he was captured near Vietnam's border with Cambodia in 1967 - in the June 28 edition of Long Island Life. The article drew an outpouring of emotion from readers, including a former Army buddy who had helped search for Perricone after his capture, but had not known his fate. Milano, 47, was a fifth-grade pupil at Summit Lane Elementary School in Levittown when he wrote to the former POW shortly after Perricone's release in 1973. When Milano read Perricone's prison account in Newsday, he retrieved the thank-you letter Perricone had sent in reply to his letter, then wrote to Perricone in Florida to wish him well. "I had read his letter to my son because I wanted him to know about the Vietnam War and the strife it caused," Milano said. "I think it made the impact of the war real for him, as opposed to reading about it in a book." Perricone, who was tortured during his prison ordeal, said the outpouring of support is comforting. "These letters really make you feel good," he said. "To know people think about you after all of these years."