November 5, 2017




Dutchess County shows appreciation to veterans

Dutchess County honored veterans Timothy Bila, Edward Axelsen, and Timothy Hill

HYDE PARK – Dutchess County officials expressed their gratitude for the service of local veterans during Saturday’s 12th Annual Veterans’ Appreciation Day.

“Today is not only about saying ‘thank you,’” said County Executive Marcus Molinaro. “It’s about knowing that you have a partner in life in Dutchess County, that when there is a need, we hope you turn to us.”

The event was held at the Henry A. Wallace Center at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Home in Hyde Park. Small presentations on providing services to those who have served were held before a ceremony honoring local veterans. More than 40 agencies, organizations and vendors were on hand as well before the ceremony to provide information on what they can offer veterans and their families.

Molinaro, County Veterans’ Services Director Nelson Eddy Rivera, US Navy (ret.) and State Senator Susan Serino awarded medals to three local veterans from different generations for their service: Staff Sergeant Timothy Hill of Hopewell Junction, who joined the U.S. Marines in 2001 and served in Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom; AT2 Edward Axelsen of Poughkeepsie, a U.S. Navy veteran who served from 1950-54; and Corporal Timothy Bila of Hopewell Junction, who served as a Marine in the Vietnam War between 1966 and 1967.

Twenty-five veterans, including Rivera, were honored with certificates for their participation in the Military Behavioral Health training program.

Hosted by the Division of Veterans’ Services and Mental Health America’s Vet-2-Vet program, the training was held in early October for two days to coach military veterans in becoming mentors for fellow veterans and for military families in need.

In addition to receiving his certificate for participating in the program, Rivera, who will be retiring next January from his current post, was praised by Molinaro for his dedication to county veterans.

“He has distinguished himself not only as a passionate advocate for Dutchess County veterans, but a joyful one,” he said. “There are nearly 1,700 county employees, and I will get in trouble for saying this, but he is my favorite county employee.”

Rivera was visibly overwhelmed and elated by Molinaro’s praise.

“I don’t consider this a job,” he said of his post. “I consider it God’s work to share and serve the veterans, the ones who give us everything we have.”

Molinaro announced that 2018 will be the year of the veteran in Dutchess County, in commemoration of the Return Home Parade that was held 100 years ago in the City of Poughkeepsie to welcome local veterans who returned home from service after World War I. A series of celebrations will be held throughout next year to honor the service of local military veterans. Later in the year, a ceremony will be held on Market and Main Street in Poughkeepsie to acknowledge the parade.


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