Past Events

Gary Flaherty, Director         Rachel Hamilton, Deputy Director
389 Fairview Ave Suite 7, Hudson, NY 12534 389 Fairview Ave Suite 7, Hudson, NY 12534
email:                                                              e-mail:
518-828-3610 (office), 518-610-0941 (cell)   518-671-6149 (fax)                  518-828-3610 - fax 518-671-6149

Hillsdale resident and WWII Veteran Ernest "Ernie" Santoro celebrates 100 years 

The Hillsdale community  honored Santoro with a large vehicle parade at his house on Henich Lane by  blowing their horns, sirens and waving the American Flag. The celebration included Hillsdale Fire Department, Community Rescue Squad, NY State Police, Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Columbia County Veteran's Service Agency, Hillsdale Highway Department and dozens of vehicles decked out with flags and Happy Birthday signs. In addition, there was a local horse draped with an American Flag along with a procession of numerous dogs. Marty Smith played "Happy Birthday" and a selection of patriotic songs on his trumpet. Santoro received a surprise visit from another century old veteran, Edwin Odegard of Chatham. A proclamation was presented and read in Santoro's honor by Hillsdale Town Supervisor Christian Kersten, declaring July 5, 2022 as "Ernie Santoro Day."

Santoro was born July 5, 1922 in Mamaroneck, NY. He enlisted in the US Army and served in the Army's 1st Calvary Division, 12 Regiment Troop 6, as a scout and horse-mounted rifleman in the Pacific Theater. Santoro saw combat across the Asian Archipelago, New Guinea, and the southern Philippines, and the Battle of Luzon, the deadliest in the Southwest Pacific, where he was seriously wounded on Feb. 23, 1945. After six months of hospital recuperation, Santoro returned to the United States and was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Philippines Liberation Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Purple Heart.


Pictured here is Ernie Santoro and Director of Columbia County Veteran's Service Agency, Gary Flaherty

The Columbia County Board of Supervisors in collaboration with the Columbia County Veterans presented a Certificate of Recognition to Raymond E. Sweeney of  Staatsburg, NY, on May 28, 2022, in honor of his 100th Birthday.

Mr. Sweeney served his country in World War II as a Technician Fifth Grade with the 848th Ordinance Company, Central Europe. He entered active duty on January 14, 1943 and was discharged on November 20, 1945. Technician Sweeney was awarded the European-African-Middle Easter Service Medal, The Good Conduct Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.  After his service, he served in the New York City Fire Company until he retired. He belonged to the following units: Engine Company 31 in Lower Manhattan for ten years, was appointed Chief's Aide in the 2nd Battalion, was promoted to LT and assigned to the 12th Battalion, spent the next two years in Harlem and spend his final ten years of service with Engine 288 in Maripeth, Queens. 

US Veteran's Affairs Secretary Dennis McDonough Visits the USA
October 2021

US veterans secretary tours hospitals, VA centers.pdf

9/15/21 U.S. Army Cpl. Walter Smead Comes Home! 
(Photos courtesy of Richard Lindmark and Karen Dudley 1st VP Greene County Region Blue Star Mothers NY #13 and )

A Hero Comes Home - U.S. Army Cpl. Clifford S. Johnson 05/18/21 Photos courtesy © Richard E. Lindmark

As part of Wreaths Across America on Saturday,
we placed this on the grave of 


(Pictured are Gary Flaherty, Pierre and Lisbeth Gontier)

Delgado Visits Veteran's  Service Agency, February, 2021
Veteran's PR Col Paper 2.25.21.pdf