History was made on Saturday, July 21, in Carmel, when Veterans who served in the past, active Military personnel, newly sworn in recruits and supporting organizations, marched along Gleneida Avenue in the first New York State Medal of Honor Parade. I am grateful to the New York State Medal of Honor Committee for choosing Putnam County to host its inaugural parade.

Peter Fiumefreddo, chairman of the NYS Medal of Honor committee, said that they chose Putnam County because we are a community that is known for honoring its Veterans. From the Row of Honor that waves along the shores of Lake Gleneida to being the first Purple Heart County in the state and having the first Gold Star Mothers statue, recognizing the sacrifice of the men and women who serve(d) in the U.S. Armed Forces is a core value to the people of Putnam County.

Thank you to Peter as well as Rita Cosby, the founder of the NYS Medal of Honor committee, for sharing their vision with us and allowing Putnam County to be the location of the first parade. I appreciate Karl Rohde and Art Hanley, Director and Deputy Director of the Putnam County Veterans Affairs Department respectively, for working with the Medal of Honor committee and the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council to turning that vision into a beautiful reality.

Thank you also to Phil McArdle, who chaired the parade committee, and all the parade committee members for working tirelessly to prepare for the event. Phil kept everyone organized and on task.

The parade would not have been possible without the financial support of Entergy, Shoprite, Unicorn Contracting Corporation, Covington Development, Homestyle Catering, Radovich & Dean Music Store, Senator Sue Serino, Senator Terrence Murphy, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, County Clerk Michael Bartolotti and the Andrew McArdle Scholarship Fund. Thank you all for providing the resources needed to make this parade happen.

I am grateful for all the military personnel, Veterans organizations, fire departments and civil groups that participated in the parade. I am especially appreciative to the grand marshals— Medal of Honor recipients Paul Bucha and Robert O’Malley, for inspiring us to go the extra mile and you can make a difference in the world.

In honor of the parade, I have decided that the Row of Honor will remain up through November to celebrate this momentous occasion.

I am so proud to live in Putnam County—a community that stands up for America and recognizes our Veterans every day.