In a patriotic salute to our nation's independence, Supervisor Kate Murray presented the coveted Veterans Medal to the 2011 recipients of the award at the town's annual Salute to Veterans ceremony at Town Park Point Lookout on June 25.
"I am honored to present the Town of Hempstead Veterans Medal to seven deserving individuals," said Murray. "The 2011 winners are SCOTT BEAUCHAMP of Woodmere, CHARLES CARLUCCI of Elmont, MARIO DELL'AERA of Levittown, PATRICK DOYLE of East Atlantic Beach, DANNETTE MASON of Hempstead, JAMES MERRITTE of Hempstead and BERNARD RADER of Freeport. These people have exhibited tireless energy and unending devotion to helping veterans."
The following are short biographies of each recipient:
Scott Beauchamp recently served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and was wounded when his armored personnel carrier was hit by an explosive device. While Scott is currently recuperating at Walter Reed Medical Center, he has managed to remain very active in East Rockaway's VFW Post 3350 and currently serves as the post's Alternate Delegate.
An active member of the Vietnam War Veterans Association, Charles Carlucci also serves as the Second Vice Commander of American Legion Post 1033 in Elmont and as a representative for the 82nd Airborne Association. He is an active participant in the collection of items for homeless and hospitalized veterans as well as those currently serving overseas.
Mario Dell'Aera has been a member of the American Legion Levittown Post 1711 for over 14 years and currently serves as the post's 3rd Vice Commander. A long-standing member of the post's color guard unit, Mario is also a trumpeter at memorial services for fellow veterans.
Patrick Doyle is a 44-year member of the VFW, a 42-year member of the Disabled American Veterans Association and a 45-year member of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He is currently Sgt. Major of the 11th New York Regiment of the United States Volunteers and spends much of his time tending to the needs of patients at veterans hospitals.
A nine-year Air Force veteran, Dannette Mason utilizes her prior experience working for Medicaid to help veterans navigate through the government benefits process. Dannette continues to use her expertise to help veterans at the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency.
James Merritte is an active member of the Nassau County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 82, American Legion Post 1487, VFW Post 7166 and the Disabled American Veterans Association. As an Agent Orange victim, James' driving mission is to reach as many veterans as possible and let them know that help is available.
A World War II veteran, Bernard Rader was once held as a prisoner of war for 47 days in a Nazi prison camp in France. Decades later, Bernard continues to tell stories of his World War II experiences at local libraries, senior centers, churches, synagogues and schools.
The criteria for the Town of Hempstead Veterans Award is based solely on humanitarian contributions made by recipients to fellow veterans. It does not take into consideration military record or activity.
"In addition to the medal presentation, the town honored J.P. Iacona of Elmont with the Town of Hempstead's Service To Veterans Award," said Murray. "At the young age of 12, J.P. has devoted much of his time and effort to raising funds for America's VetDogs and serves as an inspiration to our township's younger residents."
Following the ceremony, the town presented a concert by Blood, Sweat and Tears. The evening concluded with a fireworks display and a special simulcast by Long Island's KJOY 98.3. Sponsors of the veterans salute include Swingbelly's BBQ of Long Beach, Quick Snack, Dairy Barn Stores, Naturally Boulder Beverage and Entenmann's Family Bakery of East Meadow.
"I hope everyone will take some time to remember our brave veterans during the town's special salute and the upcoming Independence Day weekend. After all, we enjoy peace and freedom because of the sacrifices of our servicemen and women."