Gino DiGregorio, 96, enjoyed the cruise
NEW HAMBURG – A flotilla of 16 powerboats left White’s Marina in New Hamburg on Saturday and cruised south on the Hudson River to West Point.
The boats carried a group of approximately 40 veterans of all ages for a ride down to the US Military Academy, escorted by two boats operated by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and then back to the marina for a large picnic.
A little over three years ago, George Mann, captain of the 41-foot “Mann Made Dreams II” was sitting on his boat thinking of ways to thank veterans and give them a day of fun on the river. Mann mentioned the idea to a few other boaters and the “Boat Ride For Dutchess County Veterans” was born.
This trip was the third of its kind. The morning started at the marina with remarks from State Senator Sue Serino, Assemblyman Kieran Lalor and former Wappinger Town Supervisor Lori Jiava.
Lalor, a United States Marine Corps combat veteran, remarked that, “no matter what is going on around us, the one thing that always unifies us is our veterans.”
After the welcoming remarks and flag ceremony the veterans were assigned to their boats and headed down the docks to climb aboard. On board the 46-foot “My Three Buoys” owned by Gary and Kim Baright, were two veterans, Tom Ligurori who served as an Army Intelligence Analyst in the early 1950’s and 96-year-old WWII veteran Gino DiGregorio who served in the Navy.
Ligurori was joined by his wife Anita, while DiGregorio was escorted by his son and daughter-in-law. Mrs. Ligurori, seated on the fly bridge of the yacht called the excursion “wonderful” which accompanied her husband’s “It is great.” Due to limited mobility, DiGregorio sat at the rear of the yacht and marveled at the sight of West Point rising up from the river.
All the boat owners were thrilled to participate. Both Gary Baright and Rob Doyle have captained their boats for two of the three events and look forward to doing it again next year. When the boats returned, the veterans were treated to a variety of hot and cold food which was donated by many including Shop Rite, Channingville Deli and the boat owners.