Colonel Eric Hesse, Director of the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, to Deliver Keynote Address.
Suffolk County, NY - May 12, 2017 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced Suffolk County will hold its annual Armed Forces Day ceremony on Saturday, May 20 at 11:00 a.m. to recognize and honor those who have served in uniform. The event will take place in the Armed Forces Plaza, located at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge.
“Suffolk County is home to the largest Veterans population in the State and we remain committed to supporting these brave men and women as well as their families," said County Executive Bellone. “I look forward to hosting this annual event to honor those who have served our nation to protect the very freedoms we enjoy here at home."
Colonel Eric Hesse, Director of the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, will provide the keynote address. Hesse is a retired U.S. Army Colonel with a distinguished record of more than 26 years of service that included deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Eric J. Hesse, Director of the Division of Veterans’ Affairs, said “Suffolk County is home to so many heroic individuals who have dedicated their lives to protecting this nation and thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we are doing more than ever to help connect them to vital services. We have always enjoyed a strong partnership with Suffolk County and we are looking forward to being a part of this event."
Thomas Ronayne, Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency Director, said: “Suffolk County has a long and proud history of supporting our veterans. Programs like our Armed Forces Day ceremony are one of the many opportunities that County Executive Bellone, me and the entire Suffolk County Veterans Team take to demonstrate our sincere commitment and great pride in our veterans community."
Approximately 200 local veterans and residents are expected to attend, including veterans who served from World War II through the present day as well as residents from the Long Island State Veterans home in Stony Brook.
Colonel Hesse will place a wreath at several monuments, including World War II, Korean War and Women Veteran Statues, the Vietnam War Monument and the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan War plaques. There will also be a special recognition for Suffolk County’s Gold Star Families to honor the fallen heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice.
Suffolk County Veterans Service officers and Suffolk County Joseph Dwyer Program representatives will also be in attendance. The Suffolk County Joseph Dwyer Program, named to honor the memory of war hero Joseph P. Dwyer, is a peer-to-peer program for Veterans facing the challenges of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. Established in Suffolk County, this program is actively serves the needs of veterans in 16 counties across New York State. Suffolk County has established itself as the leader in this effort and the Suffolk County Program model is now replicated statewide and throughout the country.