Community members and public officials paid tribute to men and women throughout the 40th Senate District inducted into the second class of State Sen. Greg Ball’s Veterans Hall of Fame Saturday night.
The event, which was postponed due to the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy last fall, celebrated inductees from Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties at Henry H. Wells Middle School in Brewster. The nominees range from those who served in WWII to those who were recently deployed overseas to the Middle East.
“This year’s class of inductees consists of an eminent group of outstanding individuals, who nobly served, giving testimony to their loyalty and selfless commitment to the United States of America,” Ball said. “These heroic men and women have pursued a distinguished path in their military and civilian lives, demonstrating admirable qualities and reaching great achievements worthy of this honorary recognition.”
The men and women were nominated by each of their communities. They include: Amenia: Stephen Valyou, Bedford: Guy E. Zinser, Beekman: James Tobin, Buchanan: Emanuel Uva, Carmel: Joseph F. Toleno, Cortlandt: William Nazario, Croton-On-Hudson: Vincent A. Matero, Carmel Ladies Aux: Alyssa Dellaripa, Dover: Baptist Joseph Bianco, Lewisboro: Raymond Stone, Milan: Sam Lore, Mount Kisco: Santo Asaro, Mount Pleasant: Joseph Gullotta and Stephen Loia, New Castle: Gabriel Rosenfeld, North Salem: Joe Tyson, Northeast: Sid Byron, Patterson: Harvey Strode, Pawling (Village): Stan Mersand, Pawling (Town): Thomas Wichtendahl (posthumously), Pleasantville: Bert Ruiz, Peekskill: Brendon Fitzgerald and George Ondek, Pine Plains: John F. Ryan, Pound Ridge: Edward Lucas, Sleepy Hollow: Chick Galella, Somers: Richard Bertram and Jack Lederman, Southeast: Robert Palmer and Yorktown: Robert Perry.
“Today, men and women serve in places we wouldn’t want to serve 30 seconds in,” Ball said. “We only continue to enjoy our freedom at their continued sacrifice.”
The ceremony included a performance by Brewster High School’s choral group, an invocation by Putnam County Undersheriff Peter Convery and a special tribute to POWs and those currently missing in action.
Local officials expressed pride for those representing their community Saturday night. Carmel Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt said he was happy to nominate Carmel resident, Joseph Toleno for the 40th Senate District Hall of Fame, an honor that Toleno was well worthy of.
“This is a very well deserved honor for Joe Toleno. He served this Country with distinction and honor during the Vietnam War. Joe is a community-oriented person that is very involved in many civic groups,” said Carmel Town Supervisor Ken Schmit. “Mr. Toleno is a great guy that cares deeply about the community and helps out whenever he can. I am very honored and proud to have nominated him for Senator Greg Ball’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame.”