Elmira, N.Y., September 18--State Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira) paid tribute today to Robert Laskaris, a highly decorated combat veteran and well-known figure in Chemung County veterans’ affairs, by inducting him into the New York State Senate’s online Veterans Hall of Fame.
"Bob Laskaris served our nation admirably and courageously, then he returned home to lift the lives of local veterans across many decades," said Winner. "He’s a highly respected veteran, a citizen of the first order, and a driving force in local veterans’ affairs. It’s a privilege for me to have an opportunity to pay tribute to Bob’s military and civilian service, and to honor him as a true ‘veteran’s veteran.’"
Winner held a small ceremony today with members of Laskaris’ family and friends at the Maple Lawn Dairy Family Restaurant in Elmira to present the Hall of Fame plaque.
The Senate established the Hall in 2005.It’s designed to honor New York veterans whose service in the United States Armed Forces is accompanied by service to the community and accomplishments as a civilian, and includes veterans representing Senate districts from throughout New York State.
View the online Hall of Fame here.
See media coverage of the induction here.
Winner’s previous Hall of Fame inductees include Frank C. "Fritz" Pesesky, a veteran of World War II and former director of the Chemung County Veterans Service Office, and William K. Kastner, a Vietnam veteran and longtime director of the Steuben County Veterans Service Agency.
Laskaris (Retired Sergeant First Class, United States Army) is a highly decorated combat veteran whose service spanned more than 20 years and encompassed the wars in Korea and Vietnam prior to his retirement from the Army in 1972.
He was born in Elmira, New York on April 22, 1928, and grew up on Elmira’ Southside, where he attended the old Riverside Elementary School. Upon his graduation from Elmira Free Academy, he joined the United States Army Reserves in 1948 and joined the Army full-time following the outbreak of the Korean War. He served in Korea and Vietnam and retired as a Sergeant First Class in 1972.
Laskaris is the recipient of numerous, prestigious awards and decorations from the United States Department of the Army, including the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (Korea), Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal, Viet Nam Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation (40th Infantry Division, Korea, First Cavalry Division Pleiku), Good Conduct Medal, and the New York State Conspicuous Medal.
Returning to his native Elmira following his retirement from the Army, Laskaris became active in local veterans’ affairs and has worked tirelessly across the ensuing decades on behalf of area veterans. He played a key role in the reopening of the Woodlawn National Cemetery and spearheaded numerous other local veterans achievements, including the creation of the Veterans Memorial Park section within the city of Elmira’s Wisner Park. He was long recognized as the community’s "point man" in coordinating Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances.