Written by Greg Bennett Friday, 28 May 2010 08:34
Since 1919 Hicksville American Legion Post 421 has paused on Memorial Day to remember our fallen war heroes. On Sunday, May 30 we will form up at 8:30 a.m. with our comrades from the United Veterans of Hicksville at Plainlawn Cemetery on Old Country Road for a Memorial Day service. After that, legionnaires and auxiliary members will proceed to Charles Wagner’s gravesite in Westbury for a memorial service. We will also pause at the gravesite of our comrade Neil McInnis that is nearby. Then on Sunday we join our comrades again for the Annual Hicksville Memorial Day Parade and Service. Formation is at 8 a.m. in Sears parking lot. After the parade the annual Memorial Day Service will be at the Hicksville Middle School War Memorials.
During the early hours of May 15 – Armed Forces Day – Legionnaire Greg Bennett walked in the 1st Annual Soldiers Walk to benefit America’s Vet Dogs, a charity that provides service dogs to our disabled war veterans. The Soldiers Walk was held at the Town of Oyster Bay Theodore Roosevelt Beach and Marina. America’s Veterans Dogs is the personal charity of Ned Johnson, this year’s American Legion Nassau County Commander.
Oyster Bay Fire Department’s Atlantic Steamer Fire Company 1 deployed two hook and ladders that hoisted a huge American flag at the starting line of the walk. Many walkers had Vet Dog canines that they were raising and training. Bennett met U.S. Army veterans SGT Tony Larson and SFC Frank Pierson and U.S. Navy veteran Carolyn Jette, all had their canine buddy vet dogs. Volunteers from the Hicksville High School Ecology Club were assisting the event organizers.
In attendance to support the event were Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto and Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia, New York State Assemblyman Michael Montesano, New York State Senator Carl Marcellino and others.
This Memorial Day we remember Joseph Mazzone, a son of Hicksville, who gave his life in Vietnam as a U.S. Army Scout Dog handler. In Eisenhower Park there is a War Dog Monument by the Nassau County Veterans Memorials. Remember Joseph Mazzone and our War Dogs by supporting America’s Vet Dogs.
For more information on America’s Vet Dogs, visit www.VetDogs.org.
Also on Armed Forces Day, Legionnaires gathered with our comrades at the Kevin Kolm Memorial Park for the dedication of the Armed Forces Memorial Garden. The memorial garden was an Eagle Scout project presented by Eric Sanfilippo of Troop 930, which is sponsored by the Hicksville Fire Department.
Corporal Kevin T. Kolm, a 1998 graduate of Hicksville High, served with the 1st Marine Division and gave his life attempting to rescue pinned down brother Marines in Fallujah, Iraq on April 30, 2004. Corporal Kolm was a third generation Marine, his grandfather served in World War II and his father fought in Vietnam.
Hicksville Legionnaires who attended were Commander Charles Rockwood, John Mauro PPC, Sergeant-at-Arms Cliff Doering. Commander Joseph J. Glovack of the Plainview American Legion Post also attended with comrades Dennis Cuddahy and Jerome McClusky. Representing Hicksville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post was Commander William Walden, who sat with Corporal Kolm’s Gold Star parents Thomas and Jackie during the ceremony.
During the ceremony, colors were presented by the Boy Scout Troop 930 Color Guard and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Scout Eric Sanfilippo then addressed the audience and presented plaques to the veteran’s posts that attended. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held opening the Armed Forces Memorial Garden, which includes trees, plants, a bench and a memorial plaque.
Local officials also addressed the audience. Attending were Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto and Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia; Nassau County Legislators Dennis Dunne, a Vietnam Marine, Rose Marie Walker and Judy Jacobs; and New York State Assemblyman Michael Montesano. Representing the Armed Forces at the ceremony was MM2 Patrick J. Joseph, a U.S. Navy recruiter stationed in Hicksville.
Commander Rockwood thanked Eric Sanfilippo for honoring Kevin Kolm, our armed forces and our veterans. We wish Eric success in reaching the prestigious honor of Eagle Scout. Eric’s father Joseph Sanfilippo is the assistant scoutmaster of Troop 930 and a U.S. Army veteran.
During the second part of Post 421’s Awards Night, which was held at the Hicksville VFW on April 30, Commander Charles Rockwood presented Law and Order Awards to Nassau County Police Officers of the 2nd and 8th Precincts that cover our community. The Law and Order Awards are presented for meritorious police service often above and beyond the call of duty.
Officers from the 2nd Precinct honored were Police Officers Alan Seffens, William Mckean, Sennis Kelly and Brian McLaughlin. Honored from the 8th Precinct was Police Officer Michael Bjornstad. In attendance were Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence W. Mulvey, 2nd Precinct Commanding Officer Inspector Joseph Allen and 8th Precinct Commanding Officer Inspector Christopher J. Healy. One of the brave deeds the honorees accomplished was the interception, pursuit and arrest of armed gang members in two vehicles. Our community is safer due to their efforts.
During National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Week, Charles Wagner Legionnaires remember those law enforcement officers – sheriffs, corrections officers, police officers, detectives, military police and federal special agents – who gave their lives in the line of duty.
Charles Wagner Post 421 meets at 8 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month at the Hicksville VFW, 320 South Broadway. All veterans are invited to join. New auxiliary members are welcome. Send donations to help hospitalized veterans and military to: American Legion Post 421, PO Box 925, Hicksville, NY 11802.