POUGHKEEPSIE – Veteran who are members of the Vail-Wolff Mc Kenna-Frye VFW Post 170 announced that Nathan “Nate the Great” Grant has been named their Veteran of the Year’ at their Town of Poughkeepsie post. The Veteran of the Year is the post’s highest honor. Grant also serves as the commander of American Legion Post 37 in Poughkeepsie.
Born in Virginia in 1945, Grant was raised in North Carolina where he worked on a farm picking cotton for two cents a pound. After learning the trade of bricklaying, he moved to Poughkeepsie in 1964, was inducted into the Army in 1965, and shipped to the war in Vietnam, where he served as a ‘tunnel rat’.
When Grant returned to Poughkeepsie from Southeast Asia after a year, he went to work for IBM where he assembled keypunch machines and served as a construction coordinator for projects.
Grant has also published children’s books including, “Someone that I Know“.
Grant was humbled by the most recent accolade. “Being recognized for the small things that I have done over the last few years means that my service has been appreciated.” Grant is known for service to the community in addition to his wartime actions.
Jacquemay Perrotta, a spry 88-year-old woman who serves as Grant’s “right hand” at the American Legion, noted that Grant is a great cook and also volunteers at Dutchess Outreach serving meals to those in need.
Mrs. Perrotta is no stranger to veterans, having served in the Air Force during the Korean War era. Grant and Perrotta are both credited with restoring the Air Force Jr. ROTC at the Poughkeepsie High School. “We’re really proud to have him as a commander – he has revived the post,” said Perrotta.
“When a veteran receives a ‘thank you’ from vets and others, it says a lot and means so much. It also means that being blessed to be able to return from Vietnam, there is a need to always continue to help others. By doing so, it gives me great pleasure to help my fellow vets,” said the Veteran of the Year. Commander Grant also thanked VFW Post 170 for his lifetime membership, saying, “It truly has made a difference in my life.”
Post 170 Commander Tommy Zurhellen said, “Nate Grant has been commander of Legion 37 a lot longer than I’ve been commander of VFW 170, and he’s meant so much to veterans and their families in our community. Whether it’s delivering toys to children in need at Christmastime or delivering 100 meals to the homeless shelter, Nate is respected by all his peers. I congratulate him on this award!”