Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 19 August 2011 00:00
On Friday, Aug. 5, County Executive Ed Mangano honored local heroes, including Hicksville’s Joseph Ingino, at the 24th Annual Salute to Veterans ceremony at Eisenhower Park’s Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater. This year’s event was dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military airmen serving during World War II.
Ingino is past president of Nassau County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 82, where he facilitated visits to returning wounded at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.
Legislator Dennis Dunne, who recently organized a press conference for veterans who never received their post-service benefits, said Ingino has been a supportive figure for many veterans returning from overseas.
“He’s a longtime advocate for veterans, not just Vietnam, but for all veterans. He testified about the possibility of cuts in the Veterans Agency for years. He’s always been out there supporting our troops and he’s been down to Washington a bunch of times.
“He’s very proud to have served our country and he wears his heart on his sleeve, he’s just a beautiful guy and you can’t help but like him. He’s 100 percent for the men and women of our country,” Dunne said.
Dunne added that Ingino is currently a member of the color guard and participates in all of the ceremonies throughout Nassau County.
“Whenever we have a function, you can count on Joe being there, I can’t say enough about him,” said Dunne.
As far as his work with returning veterans, Dunne said it’s a difficult task to relive that particular aspect of war, but Ingino is still able to show his support for his countrymen and women.
“The men and women who get hurt in Iraq and Afghanistan come home to Walter Reed in Bethesda and he’s taken trips there to see the troops and try and cheer them up. That’s a tough thing to do, especially after we’ve been in a war ourselves and see what war does to you, to go and see that again, it’s a tough thing,” Dunne explained.
The Aug. 5 ceremony began with the traditional “Roll Call of the States,” before Mangano recognized, thanked and applauded each veteran and active duty service person in the audience and asked for a moment of silence for all United States troops deployed around the world.
“On behalf of our 1.3 million residents, I thank all of our veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces for their service to our country and their dedication to keeping us safe,” said County Executive Mangano. “We salute their sense of honor, we salute their courage and we salute their love of country.”
Seven local veterans were honored with the Distinguished Service to Veterans award, presented by the county executive.
The Distinguished Service Award recipients include:
Mike Hirsch, of Plainview, is a Korean War Veteran who has donated his services to the Salvation Army residence, Rebuilders Together and Homes for our Homecoming Heroes.
Jack Stein, a Vietnam Veteran who has worked with veterans groups for the past 35 years, helping to provide physically challenged Veterans ramps for their homes.
John Devine, injured during his service in Vietnam with the Marine Corps in 1967, he went on to dedicate his services to assist amputees and became vice president of the National Amputation Foundation. He is a resident of Massapequa.
Robert Olden, a Roosevelt resident, is a former member of the Tuskegee Airmen and longtime resident of Roosevelt who spent his life serving fellow veterans and their families.
Patricia Matarazzo, of Westbury, has been a loyal advocate for veterans as an educator, encouraging her students to pay their respects to those who made the supreme sacrifice, and acknowledge their service to our country.
Joseph Slattery, Jr., a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Pacific Area Command in the Vietnam War and is a life member of the VFW, AMVETS, American Legion and the Vietnam War Veterans Association. He is a resident of Plainview.
A free concert followed The Salute to Veterans ceremony, which featured the USO Liberty Bells and Dean Karahalis and the Concert Pops of Long Island.