MaryEllen Odell Praises Veterans, Emergency Service Pros at Row of Honor Ceremony

Odell Praises Veterans, Emergency Service Pros at Row of Honor Ceremony

CARMEL, N.Y. (May 13, 2014) Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by public officials, veterans, emergency service professionals and onlookers as they gathered along the grassy shores of Lake Gleneida today to attend the official opening of the 2014 Row of Honor, the colorful stretch of 100 red, white and blue American flags lining Gleneida Avenue in the Hamlet of Carmel. The Row of Honor is a fundraising collaboration among the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council, Putnam Tourism and Putnam County government. Monies raised by flag sponsorships will be used to pay for various veterans’ projects. 

“As we look along the shores of Lake Gleneida and see these flags waving in the wind, we remember our family and friends as well as those we never had the opportunity to meet. They sacrificed themselves so we could be safe,” said Odell. “We thank them. We honor them. We remember them. They have paid the ultimate price to protect our county’s freedom.” 

Karl Rohde, Director of Putnam County’s Department of Veterans Affairs, believes the Row of Honor keeps the memory of the fallen soldiers alive.

“The Row of Honor is just one more example of the high regard that Putnam County has for veterans,” said Rohde.  “Very often veterans feel neglected and if it were not for our holding Memorial Day ceremonies, veterans might be forgotten.  As long as we have this wonderful Row of Honor it will help the entire county remember the sacrifices made by our service members.”

Participating in this afternoon’s opening ceremony were World War II veterans and Honor Flight participants Mario Antoci, 88, of Carmel and Salvatore Inserra, 86, of Brewster. Odell accompanied each on their Honor Flight to Washington, DC. As Odell’s special guests, Antoci led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance while Inserra gave a brief invocation.

A third man was honored by Odell and recalled fondly by Deputy Director of Veterans Affairs Art Hanley.

Hanley recalled introducing the late Denis Castelli, the former Village of Brewster and County Historian, to Brewster’s VFW Post 672 years ago. Castelli was a Vietnam Veteran who earned the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge. He passed away suddenly last month.

“Once Denis became involved in our VFW, things really began to happen,” said Hanley. 

Accompanying the 100 American-made flags are those representing each branch of the American Armed Forces as well as the Army and Air National Guard and Fraternal Order of Police.

“We are grateful to County Executive MaryEllen Odell for including the Fraternal Order of Police flag as part of the Row of Honor,” said Kevin Shield, president of Fraternal Order of Police Stephen P Driscoll Memorial Lodge 704. “Just like the veterans, law enforcement officers put themselves at risk of being killed in the line of duty to protect and defend our county’s safety and freedom. Our lodge is named after Stephen P. Driscoll, who was a New York City Police Officer killed in the World Trade Center bombing on September 11, 2001.

The Row of Honor is held twice a year in honor of Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This historic observation has become a cherished tradition for residents and has drawn national attention to Putnam County.

Sponsorship of a flag can be purchased for $100 each. Members of Putnam’s Return the F.A.V.O.R. program can purchase flags for $75 each. Checks should be made out to the Joint Veterans Council and sent to them at: Putnam County Veterans Affairs Office, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel, N.Y. 10512. 

For more information about the Row of Honor, call Mimi at the Office for Veterans Affairs at: (845) 808-1620.

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Caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell welcomed WWII veterans Mario Antoci, 88, of Carmel and Salvatore Inserra, 86, as her special guests during the opening ceremony for Putnam County’s Annual Row of Honor display. Accompanying the 100 American-made flags are those representing each branch of the American Armed Forces as well as the Army and Air National Guard and Fraternal Order of Police.