By Steve Bellone
Suffolk County is home to more than 90,000 veterans, the largest population of veterans in any county in New York State. They have selflessly served their country, in war and in times of peace, making sacrifices to ensure our safety and protect our way of life.
We all have a duty to make sure that veterans are not overlooked when they return to civilian life. Too often, veterans return home from service in need of our assistance and recognition for a job well done.
I am proud that the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency and our many local veterans organizations work tirelessly to meet the needs of veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, lack of quality housing and job assistance. No veteran should have to fight another battle to receive needed services and adjust to civilian life.
The fact is, there is so much more we need to do to support our veterans. That is why I helped organize the first ever Suffolk County Marathon and Half Marathon to Support Our Veterans.
This event will kick off from Heckscher State Park, this Sunday, Sept. 13 and travel through many of our amazing downtowns. Every dollar that we net from this marathon will help fund services which will benefit our Suffolk County veterans community.
As a veteran myself, I will be participating in the event as one of the thousands running it. But, there are so many ways to be involved.
You can join in this effort to support veterans by running, volunteering or cheering on others who are participating in this great cause. In addition to the race, The Taste of Long Island festival will show off locally produced wine, food and drinks, with entertainment provided by bands made up of veterans. Among the thousands of runners are many veterans and active-duty members of the services.
I encourage you to go to www.suffolkmarathon.com to learn more about how you can be part of history and honoring our great veterans community. I look forward to seeing you out there.
Steve Bellone is the Suffolk County Executive.