Home One community Senator O’Mara’s Weekly Column “From the Capitol” – for the week of July 11, 2022 – “Never Forget Those Who Served”

Senator O’Mara’s Weekly Column “From the Capitol” – for the week of July 11, 2022 – “Never Forget Those Who Served”


We take this opportunity to salute the lives of veterans who have made such a difference to our local communities, our state and the United States of America.

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This week, “Never Forget Those Who Served”

Over the 4th of July weekend in the city of Elmira, local veterans and members of the community at large seized the solemn and very meaningful opportunity to visit “The Moving Wall”, a traveling replica and a half -size of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC

Through the efforts of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 803 in Elmira, The Moving Wall was brought to the South Level and available for viewing for six days in Eldridge Park.

During these six days, volunteers, including many veterans, participated in a continuous reading of the 58,318 names inscribed on the Wall.

It was quite an experience. Hundreds surrendered. In the words of a visiting veteran, “The wall is important because it really helps people never forget. »

Never forget.

It was a great privilege for me to participate in the opening ceremony of the arrival of The Moving Wall on June 29, where I had the opportunity to honor the memory of all Vietnam veterans, from to thank for their service and to salute one Vietnam War veteran in particular.

In 2005, the New York State Senate established an online Veterans Hall of Fame and, including this year, inducted nearly 500 veterans from across the state. Our Hall of Fame honors New York veterans for their service in the United States Armed Forces and their civilian achievements. Each year, senators select a veteran for honor from each of our respective legislative districts.

This is one of our most meaningful tributes.

This year, Dennis L. “Denny” Wolfe, Sr. of Chemung County, a well-known Vietnam War veteran and founder of the Vietnam War Museum in Elmira, was chosen to represent our 58th Senate District at Temple of veteran fame.

A statewide virtual induction ceremony was held on Memorial Day. We followed up locally by honoring Denny as part of The Moving Wall opening ceremony on June 29.

Born and raised in Elmira, Denny was drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1966. He served with the 1st Air Cavalry Division, the Army’s first full division deployed to Vietnam, from 1967 to 1968 as a helicopter crew chief, including throughout the Tet Offensive in 1968.

Denny returned to Elmira after being discharged from the military in 1968, where he dedicated his life to helping and honoring area veterans.

He is a founding member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 803. In 1993, Denny conceived the idea for what would become the Vietnam War Museum at 1200 Davis Street in Elmira, about half a mile south of Woodlawn National Cemetery.

The Museum held its grand opening on May 2, 2009. Honoring the memory of Major Robert H. Schuler, Jr., who was shot in North Vietnam on October 15, 1965, the Museum is dedicated solely to the Vietnam War in tribute to the sacrifices and service of all Vietnam Veterans.

It is a big attraction of the southern part. Noted for its distinctive canopy, facade and row of flags, the museum is staffed mostly by veteran volunteers and is open to the public free of charge.

Denny continues to be the director of the museum. Defined by his deep commitment, relentless effort, labor of love, and continued vision for the museum he founded, Denny Wolfe is a proud exponent and guardian of the history, sacrifice, and service of American Vietnam Veterans. for future generations.

It was an honor and a privilege to induct Denny Wolfe into the Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. Denny did everything he could through the Vietnam War Museum he founded in Elmira to ensure that the legacy and service of American veterans of the Vietnam War will always be remembered. memoirs. I am grateful that the New York State Senate is taking this step to ensure that Denny’s own service and lifelong commitment to area veterans will also be commemorated for generations to come.

So have each of my Veterans Hall of Fame inductees over the years, including:

> Philip C. Smith, highly decorated Korean War veteran and well-known figure in Schuyler County government and veterans affairs;

> J. Arthur “Archie” Kieffer, a World War II veteran and a widely admired member of Chemung County government as a historian of Chemung County;

> Roswell L. “Roz” Crozier, Jr., Mayor of Paint Post and World War II veteran;

> Anthony J. “Tony” Specchio, Sr., a distinguished Korean War veteran widely respected for his long and active service to veterans and government at Watkins Glen and throughout Schuyler County;

> P. Earle Gleason, Vietnam War veteran, permanent resident of Yates County and longtime director of the Yates County Veterans Services Agency;

> Warren A. Thompson, World War II veteran, lifelong Steuben County resident and farmer, and a mainstay of county civic and veterans affairs;

> Paul C. “Digger” Vendetti of Elmira, World War II US Navy veteran and longtime custodian of Woodlawn National Cemetery; and last year

> Richard T. “Dick” Gillespie of Penn Yan, a WWII veteran who flew a Boeing B-17 bomber (known as the “Flying Fortress”) on 21 missions over Germany .

We take this opportunity to salute the lives of veterans who have made such a difference to our local communities, our state and the United States of America.

Denny Wolfe bravely served our nation in Vietnam and then returned home where he dedicated his life to working tirelessly to honor and help his fellow veterans and strengthen our community.

I am happy to take this opportunity to express our collective gratitude and respect, and to never forget.