Ritchie, Blankenbush Lead Effort to Rally Support for NY’s Largest Military Post
A bipartisan group of 85 State Senators and Assembly Members—from Long Island to Buffalo, Brooklyn and Binghamton to the North Country—have joined together to back Fort Drum in the face of looming federal defense budget cuts.
The lawmakers signed a letter to Governor Cuomo asking him to rally state leaders in Albany, New York City and Washington, D.C., to fight for the post, which is crucial to the nation’s defense and, as the state’s largest single-site employer, adds almost $2 billion a year to New York’s economy.
The Hall of Fame pays tribute to New Yorkers who have served their country in the US Armed Forces and made significant contributions to their communities.
“Throughout the past several years I have had the opportunity to recognize so many men and women who have made tremendous sacrifices in their lives by serving in our Armed Forces,” said Senator Ritchie.
Senator Patty Ritchie welcomed cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point who were visiting the Capitol for the annual West Point Day. Two cadets from Jefferson County were included in the group: Nicholas Tyler from Adams, and Brandon Lloyd from Watertown.
Sen. Ritchie's annual celebration of military men and women, veterans and military service was held at Fort Drum on May 15, recognizing 28 veterans of the US military from WWII to Afghanistan. The event is part of her State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame recognition, and came on the eve of Armed Forces Day.
28 Nominated for New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame
State Senator Patty Ritchie will honor 28 veterans of the US Armed Forces at a special ceremony taking place on Fort Drum Thursday, May 15th.
Those who will be honored 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.
“It takes a very special, dedicated person to serve—and it takes an even more devoted person to continue to give back by serving one’s community,” said Senator Ritchie.
“From fighting for freedom during WWII to serving on the front lines during recent conflicts, the contributions made by this year’s honorees are truly remarkable. I’m humbled to be given the opportunity to honor them with this special event and thank them for their selflessness and service.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie honored St. Lawrence County’s John Halford as her 2014 inductee to the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame from the 48th Senate District at a special ceremony held Tuesday at the State Capitol.
Entering the US Marine Corps at age 17, John Halford served in the Raider Battalion that was part of the daring raid on Makin Island during World War II. After his honorable discharge, he returned to Gouverneur, finished high school, and went on to SUNY Canton—which at the time, was known as the Agricultural and Technical Institute. Since retiring, John and his wife have played an active role in helping to improve the lives of people in the North Country, especially through his work as a member of the SUNY Canton Foundation Board of Directors.
From individuals who fought on the front lines during the Battle of the Bulge to those who have served our country during more current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the diverse group of honorees were nominated for the New York State Senate “Veterans Hall of Fame” by friends, co-workers and comrades-in-arms for their military service and their continuing efforts to better our local communities.
Group Will Explore Ways to Improve Services, Outreach to Those Who Served
State Senator Patty Ritchie has been picked to be part of a nationwide group looking at ways to improve services and outreach to veterans and active members of America’s military.
The Council of State Governments “Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs” includes legislators and elected state leaders from across the country. The panel is charged with identifying key veterans’ issues and best-practices that are already in use in various states. The group’s findings will be used to help draft legislative proposals in New York and other states to aid veterans.
“As the State Senator who represents the largest military post in the Northeast, and tens of thousands of veterans who served from World War II to the continuing battles against terrorism, I’ve given top priority to the needs of veterans and active duty members of our military,” said Senator Ritchie, whose district includes Fort Drum, home to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.
Takes Part in First Meeting of “Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs”
State Senator Patty Ritchie joined today with fellow members of the Council of State Governments “Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs” to discuss ways to improve services and outreach to veterans and active members of our nation’s military.
The discussion was the first for the group, which is tasked with identifying key issues facing veterans and includes legislators and state officials from across the country.
“As the State Senator representing Fort Drum, I make it a priority to look out for the 18,000 soldiers, 20,000 family members and nearly 3,000 veterans who call our region home,” said Senator Ritchie.