A distinguished local U.S. Army veteran was recently nominated for induction into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame by State Senator Mike Nozzolio. Ralph Calabrese of Canandaigua was honored during a special ceremony at the State Capitol for his courageous service during the Korean War and dedicated advocacy for our local veterans, including leading a successful campaign to save the Canandaigua VA hospital from closing.
“Ralph Calabrese is a great American patriot who not only risked his life serving our Nation overseas but, upon returning home, continued to dedicate himself to helping other servicemen and women who did the same,” said Senator Nozzolio. “It is an honor to present him with this prestigious recognition for all he has done to ensure the veterans in our communities receive the services they need.”
Ralph bravely served for two years with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. For his valor and meritorious service during the conflict, Ralph received a number of decorations, including a Bronze Service Star, the Korean Service Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.
After returning home, Ralph remained deeply committed to his fellow veterans and his community. When the Federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs recommended closing the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, Ralph galvanized a region-wide effort that successfully kept the hospital in operation. He started a grassroots letter-writing initiative that generated over 100,000 submissions, organized huge community rallies and presented the community’s case in support of the Medical Center at the VA’s hearings on hospital closings.
“Ralph’s efforts to keep the Canandaigua VA Medical Center open have ensured the health and wellbeing of countless veterans,” said Senator Nozzolio. “I was pleased to work closely with Ralph as he fought to save the hospital, and I look forward to continuing to support his outstanding efforts to advocate for our courageous servicemen and women.”
The New York Senate Veterans Hall of Fame is an annual program highlighting the exceptional service of a veteran from each Senate District. For more information on the Hall of Fame or to look up past inductees, visit the State Senate website here.