Sergeant Edward T. Dempsey
Award: Honoring Our Veterans
Sergeant Edward “Ed” Dempsey has led an exemplary life both in the Armed Forces and in the community. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he volunteered to fight for his county in World War II. Assigned to the Fire Brigade, Ed battled fires on airfields and Army bases. Although he longed to be transferred to gunnery school, the Army sought to capitalize on his aptitude for mechanics, teaching him to build, maintain and repair B-25s. Sergeant Dempsey worked on bombers on several Army bases and was honorably discharged in 1945.
Following the war, Ed returned to his hometown of Rye, New York, where he quickly became, as one newspaper recounted, “the heart and soul of Rye.” In 1946, he joined the Rye Fire Department, first as a volunteer, and then as a professional firefighter in 1949. A beloved figure in Rye, Ed has distinguished himself in service to both veterans and his community. He has served as president of the Rye Recreation Senior Club, a Boy Scout troop leader, and an usher for Resurrection Church, where his late wife, Joan Brown Dempsey, was a Eucharistic Minister. Ed was also a Little League coach for over 20 years.
For three years, Ed was the commander of American Legion Post 128. He was honored with the Post’s Americanism Award and still serves as its point man for organizing Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies at City Hall. For his many contributions to the Rye community, Ed was inducted into the Westchester Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 2003.