veterans | WAMC



Tennis has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Physical Activity Council, more than 21 million Americans picked up a racquet over the past year, up more than a fifth. As WAMC’s Jackie Orchard found out, some of those newcomers are military veterans, finding solace during a dark New York winter.

Two Of Rep. Delgado's Veterans Bills Await Signing

Dec 18, 2020
Congressman Antonio Delgado, NY-19, speaking on the House floor about his veterans bills
Courtesy of the Office of Congressman Antonio Delgado

Two of Democratic New York Congressman Antonio Delgado’s bills to support veterans await President Trump’s signature.

NY Gov Signs Outdoor Rx Act For Veterans

Nov 14, 2020
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this week signed legislation that requires the state Division of Veterans’ Services to review issues relating to veterans' ability to access state parks, and facilities. A Hudson Valley assemblymember was a bill sponsor.

Military and service flags fly at the Plattsburgh Barracks Veterans Park before being lowered for the winter
Pat Bradley/WAMC

At the Plattsburgh Oval on the former Air Force Base, 13 flags representing veterans organizations and all military branches fly alongside the American flag from Memorial Day until Veterans Day. WAMC North County Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was at the annual ceremony today.

Pat Bradley/WAMC

Local veterans in the Hudson Valley are setting off on a 55-mile walk beginning Sunday, rain or shine. Congressman Antonio Delgado and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan will be on hand at the start.

The Veterans and Community Housing Coalition "Guardian House" for female veterans.
Courtesy of VCHC

Female veterans in New York state without a permanent place to live have strikingly few options — and with the COVID-19 pandemic stretching on, they face more challenges than ever.

Today we discuss Veterans issues with CEO Bruce Buckley and Executive Vice President Michael Hagmaier of Soldier On. WAMC's Jackie Orchard hosts.

Officials from the Biden for President campaign have tapped a group of New York veterans to launch an organizing group aimed at engaging the more than 830,000 veterans and their families in the state to support Joe Biden for President. A Hudson Valley county executive is one who helped with the launch.

Courtesy of the office of NYS Senator Sue Serino

Lawmakers from the Hudson Valley are among those calling for funding in the New York state budget for a veterans peer support program. They want to sustain the program in the counties where it already exists, and expand it elsewhere in the state.

A wreath placed at a military grave at the Old Post Cemetery in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In 1992, a Maine company had a surplus of wreaths and arranged to place them in Arlington National Cemetery to honor the veterans. The effort became a company tradition. In 2005 a photo went viral and similar ceremonies began occurring at veterans’ cemeteries across the country. In 2007 Wreaths Across America formed, expanding the effort to annually lay wreaths at the graves of veterans during the holiday season.  This year, WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was at the Old Post Cemetery in Plattsburgh where veterans going back to the War of 1812 were honored.

A Dutchess County resident who is an advocate for policy reform around military sexual trauma says new legislation in New York concerning veterans is trailblazing. Her work and her story helped inspire the legislation that Democrat Didi Barrett sponsored in the Assembly.

Service flags
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York has a new law that pertains to veterans who have received a “less than honorable” discharge. A state assemblymember from the Hudson Valley authored the bill that extends eligibility for state benefits to these veterans.

Rep. Delgado Focuses On Veterans' Issues

Nov 8, 2019
Courtesy of Congressman Antonio Delgado's Facebook page

New York Congressman Antonio Delgado has been focusing on veterans’ issues in recent days. The Democrat tells WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne he has introduced a bipartisan bill pertaining to local veteran cemeteries.

Ahead of Veterans Day, we welcome Director Darlene DeLancey, Glenn Gilbert and Peter Potter of the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center and Soldier On's CEO Bruce Bruckley. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

Mary Stuart Masterson and Jeremy Davisdon are producing a new Storyhorse Documentary Theater piece on Veterans Day Weekend (November 8, 9, 10). It is called "Rancich" and is based on recorded conversations with Navy SEAL Commander Tom Rancich and his family from Red Hook.

Tom was head of Naval Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan and his family’s journey with the military and PTSD is an important story to share. The theatre is producing the piece four times next weekend - all as a benefit for the VFW in Red Hook, including one “Pay What You Wish” performance.

To tell us more we welcome: Brian Williams, Commander of VFW Post 7765 in Red Hook, who served with the Marine Corps in Desert Shield and Desert Storm and is also a veteran of the NYPD.

Jeremy Davidson and Mary Stuart Masterson are co-founders of Storyhorse Documentary Theater. Davidson is the writer of "Rancich" and Masterson is directing.

Upstate NY Veteran Elected Commander Of National VFW

Sep 9, 2019

An upstate New York man who served in Vietnam, has been elected the new commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. 

Celebrate Stephentown 2019, the third annual edition of Stephentown, New York’s annual town-wide community festival, will take place Friday, August 16 through Sunday, August 18.

This year’s schedule features a diverse range of more than 25 events at 20 different locations throughout the weekend, including open houses, demonstrations, food, music, hikes, kids activities, a car show, an interactive tour of a working farm, a rail trail race, an exhibition of award-winning Vietnam War photos and more.

Produced by a coalition of Stephentown's farms, businesses, churches and service organizations – we learn more from our guests this morning: Scott Menhinick of Celebrate Stephentown; Larry Eckhardt of Kinderhook Creek Farm, Dennis Burek of Veterans of Stephentown, and Jim Bonesteel from the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance.

Scott Aubin with his service dog Dash
Pat Bradley/WAMC

He is a veteran who was never in a war zone. Yet as a crew chief he witnessed traumatic deaths as comrades were injured and killed on flight lines.  Scott Aubin dealt with his stress by drinking and admits now that he internalized his emotions. He eventually was discharged from the Air Force and spent time in jail.  Following a suicide attempt, Aubin was treated for Post Traumatic Stress and turned his life around.  He began working for the New York state Department of Criminal Justice Services to tell his story about undiagnosed PTSD and suicide.  Aubin tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that it is still difficult to talk about his past.

Lodge of Elks No. 997

Almost 200 American flags are in a solemn array on a field in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Levi Oakes came to Plattsburgh in September 2016 to participate in a veteran's Honor Flight
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe has announced that the last surviving World War II Mohawk code talker has died. Levi Oakes was one of 17 Mohawks from the Akwesasne  tribe in northern New York that the Department of Defense confirmed used their native language as an unbreakable code to transmit messages during WWII. In September 2016, Oakes and his daughter Diane Swamp traveled to Plattsburgh to participate in an Honor Flight. They spoke to WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley about his experience as a codetalker.

Congressman Offers Veterans Resource Fair In NY-19

May 24, 2019

New York Congressman Antonio Delgado is offering his first veterans resource fair Friday for the 19th District.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones announces funding for North Country Veterans Association
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones was at the North Country Veterans Association in the Town of Plattsburgh Thursday afternoon to announce that state funding had been secured in the new budget for its expansion project.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

A New York state Senator from the Hudson Valley and a Long Island county executive were in Rockland County Thursday standing alongside several veterans. They want New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to include funding in the budget due April 1 for a support program for veterans.

Westchester Will Set Up A War Dog Memorial

Mar 14, 2019

Westchester County plans to establish a war dog memorial at one of its parks. The announcement came Wednesday, on National K-9 Veterans Day.

     A few years ago, Massachusetts allowed cities and towns to create a Veterans Assistance Fund.

In his new memoir, "Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service," Gary Sinise chronicles his never-before-told journey, from aimless teen to an actor/director with a purpose: a mission to support and raise awareness for the men and women who selflessly put themselves in harm’s way in service to our country.

"Grateful American" sets the stage for his passion for veterans, as the reader learns Sinise comes from a long line of servicemen and the military ties don’t end with Sinise’s family. After he got married in 1975, he got to know the many U.S. Army veterans in his wife’s family as well. However, serving one’s country wasn’t in Sinise’s mind as a wild kid growing up in the suburbs of Chicago in the 60s and 70s. He was more interested in having fun and getting into trouble than studying and doing schoolwork.

He stumbled into acting by way of a school production of “West Side Story,” and found he was drawn into this creative and exciting vocation. Within a few years, in a church basement in Chicago, Sinise and some friends put together a ground-breaking new theater company, the Steppenwolf Theatre, which launched his acting career along with those of John Malkovich, Joan Allen, Laurie Metcalf and several other well-known acting personalities. Soon after, TV and film parts regularly came Sinise’s way before his life would forever be changed during and after portraying Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump. Since Forrest Gump, his life has evolved and encompasses so much more than what he’s done on the stage and screen.

Sinise has witnessed firsthand the extraordinary skill and dedication of our service members and his mission and passion are to shine a light on those who serve and defend, volunteering to lay down their lives so we can have the freedom to make something real and good of our own lives. In 2011, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation, whose mission is to serve, honor and raise funds for America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.

A veteran in Woodstock, New York, has created a documentary with the goal of helping to reduce the number of veteran suicides and raise the standard of living for all people with disabilities. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Marty Klein about his film.

Northampton Memorial Day parade
City of Northampton

A Massachusetts city has canceled its nearly century-old Veterans Day parade this year because of a dwindling number of spectators and participants.

NY-19 Candidates Spotlight Veterans Issues

Oct 20, 2018
Service flags
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Two congressional candidates in New York’s 19th District have been reaching out to veterans.