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by Jessica Glenza

MONTROSE, N.Y. – Veterans gathered at Montrose VA for a Veteran’s Day Celebration on Wednesday morning. New York State Senator, Greg Ball (R, C- North Westchester) was present to honor the veterans.

“It’s a lot of reflection,” said Willie Nazario, Vietnam veteran and veteran’s advocate in Northern Westchester, “As a veteran’s advocate, I just look at what needs to be done. My prayers are with our young guys in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Many veterans present at the ceremony find solace in their work at the VA facility, or volunteering at the VA facility. “It’s kind of my medicine, working here” said Kevin Cooke, and Iraq war army veteran, “because I have a lot of survivors’ guilt.”

Cooke works in human resources at the VA facility, and described helping a 24-year-old veteran combat medic with four children find a job which could support his family, without the help of a spouse. “Ever since that, I have a hunger.”

“As a Vietnam veteran, it’s a pleasure to be mixing with some of the other veterans,” said Sheldon Rector, “Also, I’m a volunteer at Montrose, and it feels good to give back.”

The United State Military Academy presented an emotional Taps to veterans, and resounding applause could be heard throughout the ceremony. Vito Pinto, Director of the Veterans Service Agency, remarked on the many different veterans present in one room. He pointed out veterans from World War II,  Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, saying, “We salute you.”

“To these young men and young women, still to return home, we salute you,” said Pinto.

“The best part of my job,” said Ball, “are my interactions with veterans through my chairmanship.” Ball will host a Thanksgiving dinner for veterans on Saturday, November 12. There are 25 seats available for the 3 p.m. time slot. Veterans wishing to RSVP should contact Erica Massimi at (914) 329-1051 or (ARTICLE)

Publication date: 
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 00:00