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Veterans

John Cincar uses the eye-tracking iPad device in Stony Brook. Photo from Long Island State Veterans Home

Two eyes and an iPad is all Vietnam veteran John Cincar needs to completely transform his day-to-day life.

Cincar, a resident at Stony Brook’s Long Island State Veterans Home, lost his ability to move his arms and hands, but only needs his eyes to operate a $12,000 iPad the home helped him secure this week as part of its mission to enhance residents’ independence. With help from the device and the home, Cincar said he could open the door to a world he had not been able to access on his own for years. By looking at control keys or cells displayed on the iPad screen, Cincar said he can generate speech, activate functions such as turning on a light or television, and even surf the internet.

“It’s very easy for me to use,” he said. “It does everything. I can get in touch with the world again.”

The eye-tracking device, which the veterans home referred to as an “eye gazer,” was a by-product of a donation from Bowlers to Veterans Link Chairman John LaSpina, a Long Island native and owner of various bowling alleys across the Island. The BVL is a not-for-profit organization that works to support American veterans, raises about $1 million per year through bowlers and bowling centers nationwide, and has a working relationship with the Long Island State Veterans Home, LaSpina said.

John Cincar, center, accepts the eye-tracking iPad device in Stony Brook thanks to a donation from The Bowlers to Veterans Link. Photo from Long Island State Veterans Home
John Cincar, center, accepts the eye-tracking iPad device in Stony Brook thanks to a donation from The Bowlers to Veterans Link. Photo from Long Island State Veterans Home

“An opportunity like this just seemed so incredibly great that we couldn’t say no to it,” he said. “We’re talking about a facility totally dedicated to veterans. The place is immaculately clean. They do wonderful things.”

The BVL donation to the Long Island State Veterans Home was made possible from the proceeds of the “PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open,” which was held at the Farmingdale Lanes from Saturday, May 7 through Tuesday, May 10.

With the Vietnam era now more than four decades old, the Long Island State Veterans Home has been seeing more veterans who served in that war coming through its doors. And with each war comes a different kind of ailment that staff must combat.

“Many of these guys, their brains are fully intact, but their bodies are shot. They’re trapped,” said Jonathan Spier, deputy executive director for the Long Island State Veterans Home.

Just five years ago, Spier said, the home had only two Vietnam veterans living there. That number skyrocketed to more than 50 by 2016, he said, with former combat men suffering from specific injuries like exposure to Agent Orange and other muscle-related difficulties.

Fred Sganga, executive director of the veterans home, said the addition of the eye-tracking device only furthered his group’s mission to enhance the quality of life of more than 6,000 Long Island veterans.

“The goal is to maximize every veteran’s independence,” he said. “We want to be strategically ready for the next generation of veterans coming here, and this technology is transformational for someone who is a paraplegic.”

When asked how he planned on harnessing the power of the iPad to his benefit, Cincar said he hopes to study new languages, like Romanian — the language of the land he was born in.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, standing, visits with James and Noreen Saladino after the couple shared how adult day health care has helped them face service-related health issues in 2016. File photo by Phil Corso

The fight to expand veterans health services made a pit stop in Stony Brook before hitting Washington, D.C.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) took to the Long Island State Veterans Home last Thursday and stood before a room filled with veterans standing to benefit from a piece of legislation he said would expand disabled veterans’ access to adult day health care. He garnered widespread support from the local level before taking the fight to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which scheduled a hearing on his bill for April 20.

“It must always be a top priority of Congress to ensure that all veterans receive the proper treatment and care they deserve after fighting for our country,” Zeldin said. “My bill, which has strong bipartisan support in Congress, with over 45 co-sponsors including the entire Long Island Congressional Delegation, is just one more way that we can expand care for veterans.”

H.R. 2460 was written to enhance care for service members who are 70 percent or more disabled from a service-connected injury, which Zeldin said often required hands-on assistance in order to complete everyday tasks. In Stony Brook, the Long Island State Veterans Home is only one of three facilities nationwide to offer a program called adult day health care, which delivers an alternative to nursing home care for disabled veterans and their families. But the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not cover such an expense at state veterans homes, putting a greater burden on service members’ wallets.

If passed, Zeldin said, the legislation would help expand this program, which could be offered at any of the 153 state veterans homes across the country.

Fred Sganga, director of the Long Island State Veterans Home, said the legislation would fix a harrowing disparity that disabled vets face on a daily basis.

“Since the original legislation to provide no-cost skilled nursing care to our veterans who are 70 percent or more service connected disabled was passed into law in 2006, those veterans who could possibly be served by an alternative like medical model adult day health care have been shortchanged of this wonderful opportunity,” he said. “Congressman Zeldin had the resolve to recognize this issue and bring an appropriate fix not only for the Long Island State Veterans Home, but for the other 152 state veterans homes across the country.”

Noreen Saladino, whose husband James receives adult day health care to help combat the effects of being exposed to Agent Orange while serving during the Vietnam War, said the program has given her a new life.

“My personal life changed when James entered adult day health care,” she said. “It keeps him safe and comfortable.

Dr. Kenneth Kushansky, dean at the School of Medicine and senior vice president of Health Sciences at Stony Brook University, said the congressman’s bill advocated for a critical piece of veterans health care exercised at both Stony Brook Hospital and the 350-bed Long Island State Veterans Home.

“Stony Brook Medicine wants to acknowledge Congressman Zeldin for submitting this legislation on behalf of veterans and their families,” he said. “Providing funding for a long-term care alternative, like medical model adult day health care, will give our veterans and their families much deserved choice. Stony Brook Medicine serves as a model for the rest of the nation as it relates to long-term care for our nation’s heroes, and we are proud to be a part of this initiative.”

Two young boys sit at the Memorial Wall during last year’s Memorial Day services in Sound Beach. Photo by Bea Ruberto

By Ernestine Franco

Eating lasagna is a good thing. Eating lasagna to benefit the Sound Beach Veterans Memorial is even better.

The Sound Beach Civic Association will host its third Lasagna Dinner for the Vets Memorial fundraiser on Friday, April 1 (no fooling!), from 5 to 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Sound Beach Firehouse located at 152 Sound Beach Blvd.

Mamma’s Lasagna — yields 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients: 2 eggs; 2 pounds whole or low-fat ricotta; 1 pound shredded mozzarella; ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese; 1 tablespoon dried oregano; 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper; Nonstick cooking spray; 6-7 cups of your favorite tomato sauce; 1 box (9 ounces) no-boil lasagna pasta (or use regular lasagna pasta); 1 cup shredded mozzarella for topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 F. In large bowl, beat eggs. Add ricotta, 1 pound of mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spray bottom and sides of pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 1 cup of sauce on bottom of pan. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets, 1/3 of cheese mixture and 1 cup of the sauce. Repeat step 4 two more times. Top with 4 sheets of lasagna. Spread 1 cup of sauce and sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella on top layer. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, about 50-60 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Let stand about 15 minutes before cutting. Top with more sauce if desired.

The menu will include homemade lasagna, meatballs, salad, bread, dessert, coffee, tea and nonalcoholic beverages. There will also be a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, with children under 10 free. Take-out will be available for $10.

For some background on the site, starting in 2007, the Sound Beach Civic Association coordinated the Veterans Memorial Project, now located on New York Avenue across from the post office. In cooperation with the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County and New York State, they secured grants. Pavers in the form of a rondel, six flag poles and a granite wall were installed on which were to be placed bronze plaques honoring the seven fallen of Sound Beach. However, the funding dried up and for a time the granite wall remained empty.

Then in 2012, the Civic scaled down the project and donations from the community allowed them to purchase the bronze plaques and engrave the granite wall. On Memorial Day 2012, the Memorial was finally dedicated. Memorial services for the community are held each year on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Ann Moran, treasurer of the Civic and the co-chair of the lasagna dinner, donated the funds for the plaques in honor of her late husband, Matt Moran. Her commitment to ensuring that the Memorial is well maintained is what drives her to this day. “Every time I drive by the Memorial I’m reminded of the sacrifices made by many to ensure our quality of life, but most of all I remember Matt,” Moran said.

Several years ago Moran came up with the idea of hosting a lasagna dinner to raise the funds needed to maintain the Memorial.

During last year’s Memorial Day services in Sound Beach, veterans raise the flags. Photo by Bea Ruberto
During last year’s Memorial Day services in Sound Beach, veterans raise the flags. Photo by Bea Ruberto

“I’d like to invite everyone to join us, not just because it’s a worthy cause or because my sister is the one cooking the lasagna or because it’s my mother’s recipe,” Bea Ruberto, president of the Civic, said, “but because it’s a great community event.”

Nancy Ford, a Sound Beach resident and Civic member who attended the last lasagna dinner, remembers the event fondly. “I very much enjoyed attending the last lasagna dinner for the Vets Memorial. We were treated to good homemade lasagna, enjoyed the time with good friends, and were glad to be able to support the Vets Memorial,” she said.

If you would like more information on the other activities of the Sound Beach Civic Association, visit www.soundbeachcivic.org.

Although tickets may be purchased at the door, because of limited seating, advance reservations are suggested by calling 631-821-9650 for tickets.

For those of you who can’t make it on April Fool’s Day or would like to make lasagna on Easter Sunday, here is the recipe. Mangia!

Bruce Blanco smiles with other members of the riders. Photo from Blanco

For one man, riding isn’t just a way of life — it’s a way to honor his son.

Bruce Blanco, president of the American Legion Riders Chapter 1244, first got involved with the American Legion in 2010, after his son Michael Edward Blanco, a lance corporal in the United States Marines, passed away on Feb. 15, 2010.

“I am living in the eyes of my son,” Blanco said in a phone interview. “He is my hero.”

Blanco, a Commack resident, said that whenever his son was on leave he would lend a hand to local organizations like the American Legion, so Blanco “took over the things he would do,” once his son passed.

Michael Blanco served in the U.S. Marines. Photo from Bruce Blanco
Michael Blanco served in the U.S. Marines. Photo from Bruce Blanco

The American Legion Riders started in 1993, when American Legion members decided they wanted to create an environment where members could come together to share their love of motorcycles. Blanco described the American Legion Riders as “riding billboards for veterans,” that help bring attention to and raise money for veteran events.

Blanco, who has been president for the past year, said that through the organization he has been able to spend time with veterans, play bingo or share a meal, stood in as family for burial services when a veteran had no other family left, and raised money to provide veterans and their families with meals for the holidays. According to Blanco, in the last year alone, the riders were present at more than 100 military funerals. They also participate in local celebrations like the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parades in Huntington and King’s Park, and organize welcome homes from the airport.

According to Blanco, his chapter only has 24 members, but provide at least 150 different missions each year for veterans. They are one of only three rider posts in Suffolk County, and he said they are the most active chapter in New York State.

One of his fondest memories with the riders thus far, was fulfilling a wish of a veteran in his early 90s, who had always wanted to ride a motorcycle.

“We had all of his family and friends out to see him,” he said. “It was just a really nice day.”

Blanco said he thinks the organization is so important because it reminds veterans that they are not alone.

Blanco poses with Post American Legion Post 1244 Commander Dennis Madden. Photo from Bob Santo.
Blanco poses with Post American Legion Post 1244 Commander Dennis Madden. Photo from Bob Santo.

“We show vets love and give them the support they deserve,” he said. “When you have veterans who think they’re alone and then we can be there for them, that makes my day.”

He said he has seen some American Legion posts lose support and membership in the past few years. Some were even forced to close their doors.

“I never want to see this disappear,” he said. “The riders are trying to bring attention to what the American Legion does, and help to try and make it grow.”

The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund recently honored Blanco for the $1,000 donation he and the riders fundraised for in 2015. The scholarship fund gives money to children of fallen post-9/11 service members.

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Congressman Lee Zeldin. File photo by Victoria Espinoza

People who come home after serving our country overseas should not have to cope with mental illnesses stemming from their experiences, but the sad reality is that most veterans have seen or dealt with traumatic things. That means we have to do everything we can for those who return home with post-traumatic stress disorder.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), an Iraq war veteran, is on the right track in addressing this. When he was in the state legislature, he established a peer program in which veterans could help one another battle mental issues, and now he is working to take that initiative to the national level.

Part of the reason this program is important is that it addresses the stigma surrounding mental illness. The shame people feel deters the average citizen from getting help, but think of how those feelings must be compounded in people who carry the weight of a reputation as one of our country’s bravest and strongest. And even without the fear of appearing weak, veterans have experienced many things others cannot truly understand if they have not served in the military. They need and deserve the support of people who have been in their shoes — people who know what they are going through. Mental illness is often woefully misunderstood as it is, so we must mitigate that as much as possible.

Ultimately, we would prefer more resources for military psychiatrists to better identify and treat issues with active servicemen, so they leave their PTSD or other mental or emotional problems overseas, but we will gladly support a national veterans’ peer program to assist those we have so far failed to help.

Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern. File photo by Rohma Abbas

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel’s announcement that would he would not see another term in the 3rd District, which spans from the North Shore of Queens through parts of Smithtown, has sparked discussion across the region about who will succeed him. Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) is the latest to throw his hat into the race for the seat.

Israel (D-Huntington) made the decision two weeks ago that he would not be seeking re-election in November, and legislators and lawmakers from across Long Island have been declaring their intention to fight for his seat. This week, Stern said he believes his record sets him apart from the rest as a candidate who listens to his neighbors.

“My record tells a story, it highlights issues that are important to me,” Stern said in a phone interview. “When my neighbors see what’s happening in Washington, they think their voices are not being heard. I know I will be the congressman that hears them.”

He said his record has consistently supported the local issues that are important to the residents of the 3rd District and many pieces of legislation he has drafted have become state and national models.

Stern said that with his family in mind, he created the Safe and Sustainable Procurement Act, which bans baby products made with BPA, a chemical found in plastics that can seep into the food or beverages inside the plastic containers and have harmful health effects.

“It was the first legislative initiative banning these type of products throughout the entire country,” he said. “I was proud that this local bill was used a model for other jurisdictions.”

This act was eventually adopted by the New York State Senate, the European Union and the Food and Drug Administration.

The Protect Our Fallen Heroes Act is another piece of legislation Stern created that expanded to the national level. The purpose of this act, he said, was to protect the sanctity of funerals, specifically military funerals, from protesters.

Stern said this is now the adopted policy of all national cemeteries. The federal version of the bill, Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act, was first enacted by Congress in 2012, two years after Stern’s original bill was drafted.

Recently, Stern worked with Israel to adopt Stern’s Housing Our Homeless Heroes Act into a federal bill to provide housing for homeless veterans.

Stern also said many of his initiatives were accomplished with bipartisan support on the county level.

“I have a proven leadership, working with colleagues from both parties,” he said. “The way that I have been able to do my job, it clearly shows I am a representative that is sorely needed in D.C.”

Israel has served in Congress for the last 15 years, and said that after this year he feels it is his time to step down and make room for a new perspective.

“While I will miss this place and the people I have had the privilege to serve, I am looking forward to spending more time home,” he said in a statement. “Simply put, it’s time to pass on the torch.”

Stern said Israel would be missed, but also said he is eager to continue his legacy, which includes continued support for veterans.

“I have had the great privilege of working with Congressman Steve Israel for the past 10 years,” Stern said in an email. “He has been an outstanding advocate for our community and especially for our men and women currently serving our great nation.”

Stern gave Israel kudos for his collaboration on the legislator’s Housing Our Homeless Heroes Act and said it was an honor to work alongside him.

Aside from Stern, Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport), Huntington Town Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) and state Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station) are among the North Shore politicians who intend to campaign for the seat. From Nassau County, North Hempstead Town Board member Anna Kaplan threw her hat into the ring.

Rocco Donnino, founder of Cow Harbor Warriors, and Tony Donnino, board member, wait to award a service dog to a veteran at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 15. Photo from Don McKay

The Cow Harbor Warriors are committed to fighting for veterans.

The Northport nonprofit organization, established three years ago, raises money and organizes events to commemorate the sacrifices veterans have made. Since the group was founded, according to founder Rocco Donnino, it has raised $235,000 for organizations that help veterans in need, like Paws of War, which matches disable veterans with service dogs.

“It’s an opportunity for us to say thank you,” Cow Harbor Warriors President Don McKay said. “I’m a strong believer in small steps make great things. We can never do too much to help our veterans.”

The group organizes several fundraising events throughout the year to help fund their Warrior Weekend, which includes a 4-mile run, a golf tournament and a parade through Northport Village to honor and thank the veterans and their families. The event, which also has a fundraising element to it, was originally meant to specifically honor veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and was held in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

“I travel a lot for my job, and in 2011, when the Iraqi war was ending, I was seeing a lot of servicemen and women in airports coming home,” Donnino said. “I would make sure to shake their hands and say thank you to every one I saw, but after a while that didn’t feel like enough.”

Donnino wanted to do something that takes advantage of the “wonderful and unbelievable” area he lives in — thus Warrior Weekend was born.

Veterans from those two campaigns and their families are brought for an all-expenses-paid relaxation weekend in Northport, starting with a Warrior Welcome parade and ending with a gala dinner with live music. The veterans ride into Northport Village on fire engines in the parade, and then are treated to activities of their choice, including fishing and golf.

Donnino said he wanted to bring veterans to a celebration specifically in Northport because the village has a “huge history of supporting troops and veterans.”

The event is held close to the anniversary of 9/11. This year, the warriors donated the money they raised during Warrior Weekend to three organizations: Paws of War, Hoops of Northport and the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Each organization received $25,000, McKay said.

Cow Harbor Warriors bounced back from a controversy to hold its signature event last year and this year. The Northport American Legion Post 694 alleged a couple of years ago that the group had not properly disbursed funds they had raised at the first Warrior Weekend in 2012 — a claim that canceled the event in 2013.

McKay called those allegations “baseless” and said the group has been fully vetted by the Suffolk County Department of Veteran Services and is in “full compliance.”

The nonprofit’s reach goes beyond the village boundaries. Paws of War invited members of the Cow Harbor Warriors to the New York Giants game at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 15 to present a service dog to a veteran at halftime on the field.

“It’s hard to explain how incredible the experience was to watch a veteran receive a service dog,” McKay said. “It was emotional, and a proud moment.”

Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern joins Congressman Steve Israel at the site of a zombie home in Dix Hills. Photo from Amanda Lindner.

One North Shore lawmaker’s proposal to provide housing to homeless veterans is now being used as a model for a federal bill.

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) introduced the Housing Our Heroes Act this month, which creates a three-year federal pilot program that provides grants to purchase and renovate zombie homes for veterans use. That proposal reflects similar sentiments expressed in legislation Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) drafted last year.

The Housing Our Homeless Heroes Act, signed by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) in December 2014, allows for “zombie homes,” or tax-defaulted properties, in Suffolk County to be distributed to veterans.

“No soldier who has ever worn the uniform of our great nation and gone off to protect the ground we stand on should ever have to come home to sleep on it,” Stern said in a statement.

Israel’s legislation is an expansion on an act from Stern, who serves as chairman of the Veterans and Seniors Committee.

“My legislation will not only put a roof over our heroes’ heads, it will also transform unsightly zombie homes into renovated properties that will revitalize housing markets in many of our Long Island communities,” Israel said in a statement. “Whenever we get the opportunity to eliminate two problems with one sustainable solution, we should act on it.”

Israel’s proposal would make grants available to veteran service organizations, non-governmental organizations and homeless organizations. It is intended not only to house homeless veterans but also eliminate blight from neighborhoods, the lawmaker said.

Stern praised Israel’s legislation for helping to ensure “that our military heroes have a place to call home while turning blighted properties into houses fit for heroes.”

According to Stern, he and Israel always saw his act as a model to use at the federal level.

“I’m proud to say we implemented it at a local level,” Stern said in a phone interview. “What we started here is serving as a national model.”

One of the big differences between Stern and Israel’s acts is the funding.

Stern said at the local level, they are utilizing properties the government already owns because of foreclosure. Israel’s legislation doesn’t need to rely on those types of homes because of the funding they receive from grants, so “there is real opportunity for innovation with the spectrum of properties.”

He also said these two bills will complement each other going forward.

Approximately 50,000 homeless veterans are on the streets of the United States every day, including more than 2,500 in New York, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Blighted properties have been an ongoing issue in Huntington Town.

“Huntington residents have been dealing with the zombie home epidemic in our neighborhoods for far too long,” Huntington Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) said in a statement.

Edwards said Israel’s legislation would improve both the lives of veterans and the worth of Huntington resident’s homes.

At a press conference announcing Israel’s proposal on Nov. 9, Gina Raio Bitsimis, a Dix Hills resident and zombie home neighbor, thanked Israel for his commitment to tackle this problem.

“Zombie homes aren’t only eyesores in our neighborhood, they are actively reducing the value of our homes that we have worked so hard to maintain,” Bitsimis said in a statement. “My family and I will welcome these brave men and women into our neighborhood with open arms and look forward to the increase of both our quality of life and the value of our property.”

Huntington Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) previously drafted legislation to crack down on blighted properties, and said in a phone interview that the zombie house in Dix Hills, where the press conference was held was the exact house that inspired her to draft an anti-blight act.

“I saw the condition of the house and how it affected the neighbors,” she said. Her legislation includes a point system that determines if a property should be added to the town blight list and enters a restoration agreement with the town.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also said in 2009 that the homeless veteran population was more than 74,000 in a single night and last year more than one in ten of every homeless adult were a veteran.

At the press conference in Dix Hills, members of veteran organizations from Long Island spoke about the necessity of the bill.

“Placing homeless veterans in these homes will give them the opportunity and foundation they need to become independent successful members of our community,” said Frank Amalfitano, director of United Veterans Beacon House.

Beth Gabellini, regional director of Long Island Supportive Services for Veteran Families echoed the sentiment.

“After fighting for our country, veterans deserve every opportunity possible to help get back on their feet and on track,” she said.

By Giselle Barkley

Independence — that’s what veteran Glen Moody is fighting for.

Glen Moody and Indy stand on the stage at the Help Glen Bring Indy Home fundraiser. Photo from the Help Glen Bring Indy Home fundraiser
Glen Moody and Indy stand on the stage at the Help Glen Bring Indy Home fundraiser. Photo from the Help Glen Bring Indy Home fundraiser

As veterans still struggle with adjusting to life beyond the war, post-traumatic stress disorder is a reality for men and women like Moody, with 22 PTSD-stricken veterans committing suicide daily. Although Moody said he wasn’t suicidal, the California-based Patriotic Service Dog Foundation and a one-year-old red fox Labrador named Independence — Indy for short — are helping make his life a little less stressful.

On Saturday, at Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub in Miller Place, the 35-year-old Afghanistan and Iraqi vet led the Help Glen Bring Indy Home fundraiser, which aims to raise PTSD awareness and raise money to help veterans afford and obtain a PTSD service dog. These service dogs help veterans snap out of flashbacks, anxiety attacks and address other PTSD-related issues. Moody, who was born and raised in Miller Place, mentioned the dogs will also keep an eye on their war heroes — they are trained to guard or protect their vet by sitting in front, beside or behind them.

According to Moody, around 300 people attended the event. He said they raised $20,000 Saturday night, which is double what he hoped to raise. Typically, veterans will get their service dog from the foundation after the dog is 18 months old. But in light of the overwhelming community support on Saturday, Indy will live with Moody until January. This allows Indy to adjust to Moody’s lifestyle in New York.

“Tom was proud to tell me that … no one’s killed themselves [after getting a Tackett dog],” Moody said about the veterans who’ve obtained dogs from Tom Tackett’s foundation — Tackett is a trainer and the president of Patriotic Service Dog Foundation.

The absence of suicide attempts is an accomplishment for the foundation, whose goal is to reduce the statistic from 22 veterans committing suicide down to zero. Tackett could not be reached prior to publication due to technological difficulties, but Moody said he met Tackett after a fellow marine advised Moody’s family to get one of Tackett’s service dogs. The suggestion lead Moody to California in August, where he met Indy.

Charlie Kapp, Joseph Sguera and Glen Moody pose for a photo with a steel sculpture made by Kapp. Photo from the Help Glen Bring Indy Home fundraiser
Charlie Kapp, Joseph Sguera and Glen Moody pose for a photo with a steel sculpture made by Kapp. Photo from the Help Glen Bring Indy Home fundraiser

Moody served as a Fleet Marine Force corpsman with the U.S. Marines from 1999 to 2005. While Moody fought in the front lines, he was also the doctor on the field.

“If anything bad happens, they’ll cry on my shoulder, or if they get shot or blown up, they all come to me,” Moody said. “I’m the one that’s got to treat them first hand.”

The experience left Moody with anxiety attacks and issues with his personal life when he returned to Long Island. He said his PTSD was to a point where it affected his everyday life and those around him. According to Moody’s aunt LynnAnne Daly, Moody didn’t have anyone to turn to during his time of service. She added that there should be more support for causes and providing service dogs for veterans.

“We need to get government funding for this,” Daly said about providing service dogs to veterans. “These men and women are fighting for us.”

According to the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation, around 460,000 veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars suffer from PTSD or brain injuries after or during their time of service. The training period for dogs like Indy starts at eight weeks old until they are 18 months old. With the large portion of veterans suffering from PTSD, Daly added that the fundraiser and the cause “is not just about Glen. It’s about spreading awareness.”

Moody agreed and said he is trying to make a difference, starting with the foundation, the fundraiser and his four-legged companion.

“I’m not the only guy [suffering] — I know I’m not,” Moody said about his PTSD. “When I talk to veterans they say the same thing. We need more awareness and that’s what I’m doing.”

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Sept. 1, 1919 — Celebration, Parade & Memorial Service on Labor Day. The soldiers who posed for a picture on the Setauket Village Green included: Ernest West, second from right, front row; George West, second from right, fourth row; Harvey West is third from left, third row. Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

Yesterday, Nov. 11, was Veterans Day, a day to honor all the men and women who served our country. However, Veterans Day began to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 — the Armistice with Germany). President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In 1954, Armistice Day was amended to honor all veteran and the name was changed to Veterans Day.

On Sept. 1, 1919, a celebration, parade and memorial services were conducted at the new East Setauket Memorial and then, at the conclusion of the parade, on the Setauket Village Green.

Muriel Hawkins of East Setauket, 18 years old at the parade, remembered how her uncle Ernest West, who was a ship’s carpenter in the Navy, made seven trips across the Atlantic and back during the war. Ernest was one of four brothers who served during the war. The other three, George, Harvey and Percy, were in the Army. All four were the sons of Setauket blacksmith Samuel West and all four returned.

Two who did not return were memorialized at a ceremony on the Village Green at the end of the parade as reported by the Port Jefferson Times.

“With the service men in uniform standing stiffly at attention and the civilians with bared heads, the entire assemblage united in singing ‘America’… The Rev. T.J. Elms then dedicated a rock to the memory of the Setauket boys who died in the war — Raymond Wishart and Harry Golden… Mrs. Wishart received a medal for her son and Mr. Golden for his boy.”

The massive boulder and south-facing bronze tablet were erected on the Setauket Village Green in their memory. The boulder was brought from Strong’s Neck and the plaque was designed by the well-known artist William DeLeftwich Dodge who painted the murals on New York history that are in the state capital in Albany.

Private Raymond Wishart, son of Postmaster and Mrs. Andrew Wishart, was born Sept. 10, 1893, and he died in France on Aug. 23, 1918. His remains were returned to this country and were buried in the Caroline Church of Brookhaven graveyard on a Sunday in July of 1921.

Harry Golden is remembered by his nephew Sam Golden.

“He was a Sergeant in charge of the mules,” Sam recalled. “His unit was attacked and he was killed. He was 28 years old when he died and he’s buried there in France.”

On the opposite side of the rock is a plaque that was placed there after World War II. It reads, “1941-1945 – In memory of Clifford J. Darling, Henry P. Eichacker, Francis S. Hawkins, David Douglas Hunter, Orlando B. Lyons, Anthony R. Matusky, Edward A. Pfeiffer, (and) William E. Weston of the United States Armed Forces who gave their lives in World War II.”

To be continued.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian.