State Senator Patty Ritchie appeared at a listening session on Fort Drum’s future and delivered nearly 120 statements of support for Fort Drum to Major General Stephen Townsend Thursday at a “Community Listening Session” held at Case Middle School in Watertown.
The listening session is one of 29 being held across the country, organized to capture community input for the Army’s top leaders to consider as part of the reduction and reorganization of its force structure. Officials say Fort Drum could lose as many as 8,000 soldiers, or gain as many as 3,000.
The veterans were nominated for induction into the New York State Senate “Veterans Hall of Fame” by family, friends, co-workers and comrades-in-arms for their military service to our nation, and their continuing work and involvement in causes that benefit and improve our local communities.
There is still more to be learned about the Army’s troop restructuring plan and its full effect on Fort Drum and surrounding North Country communities, but one thing is clear: our region will be impacted from the loss of troops, their families and civilian employees at the post, and in surrounding communities.
The potential for additional, even deeper cuts as a result of inaction on the federal budget, referenced repeatedly during the Army’s Pentagon announcement, raises even greater concerns, and makes today’s news a strong wake up call for Congress to act.
This week, many people will join friends and family members to fire up the grill, load up the cooler, and find that perfect spot to watch a spectacle in the sky for the Fourth of July holiday. But, the Fourth is so much more than cookouts and fireworks displays. It’s a chance to salute our nation—as well as those who defend it.
This year, our nation will celebrate its 237th birthday. It was on July 4th 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, declaring the 13 colonies a free nation. If you’d like to read the document for yourself, you can request a copy by clicking here.
Funding Will Benefit PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer Support Program
for Veterans, River Community Wellness Program
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $185,000 in special funding to help veterans in Jefferson County who are struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other combat-related illnesses.
The funding will be split evenly between two local support programs offering peer-to-peer support activities; the PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer Support Program for Veterans—which was established in part through a grant secured by Senator Ritchie last year—and the recently founded River Community Wellness Program.
“The brave men and women who serve our country are such a huge part of our community here in the North Country, and that’s why it’s so critical that we have resources available to them to help them cope with the transition when they return home from serving overseas,” said Senator Ritchie.
“Programs like PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer Support Program for Veterans and the River Community Wellness Program give our troops the opportunity to interact with fellow soldiers, who may be experiencing the same emotions and challenges related to serving ones country. I am pleased to be able to offer this funding, which will go a long way towards making sure these solders—who have sacrificed so much—get the care they need.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie honored the late US Army Lieutenant General Paul Cerjan in Henderson Harbor Thursday, presenting the bill naming the I-81 Ft. Drum Connector in his honor to the Cerjan Family.
Senator Ritchie proposed legislation to name the roadway in General Cerjan’s honor, and it was signed into law by Governor Cuomo last year.
“General Cerjan played a key role in the transformation of Fort Drum and because of him, the post went from becoming a small reserve training center to a world-class military installation,” said Senator Ritchie.
“It’s fitting that we named this roadway in his honor; because it’s goal—making things safer, and easier for 10th Mountain Division soldiers, their families and others visiting Ft. Drum—is much like the goals that General Cerjan had.”