Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino invites residents to celebrate our nation’s independence, and our veterans and active duty military personnel at the Town’s “Salute to America” on Tuesday, July 9th at John J. Burns Park in Massapequa. The program, which begins at 7:30 p.m. with the presentation of Veteran Awards, will include a musical Tribute to Divas featuring JayCee Driesen and conclude with spectacular fireworks by Grucci.
Supervisor Saladino states, “Together as a community we will honor all the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, as well as our local veterans, who continue to serve our community and advocate for those who have sacrificed for this great nation.”
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is William “Bill” G. Walden, a 1965 graduate of Hicksville High School. William is a proud Vietnam Veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps, beginning in 1967 and was later assigned to the Marine Air Transport Squadron. William amassed over 2,000 hours in Marine Corps aircraft. He is the recipient of the Air Medal with two Bronze Stars, the USMC Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Unit RVN Gallantry Cross, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. After completing his service, William continued to serve his fellow veterans. He has been a member of the Hicksville V.F.W. William M. Gouse Jr. Post 3211 since April of 1970, serving as Post Commander from 2001 to 2006 and from 2008 to the present. He is a charter member and Vice President of the 1stMarine Air Wing Association – Vietnam Service, a member of Nassau County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 82, the American Legion and the Marine Corps Association. William’s tremendous legacy of service to both our nation and his fellow veterans is nothing short of exemplary. He has earned the respect of everyone he works with through his many years of caring attention to detail and his tireless advocacy.
The Veteran Volunteer of the Year recipient is Richard DeJesu who bravely served in the United States Navy from 1958 to 1961. After his exemplary military service, Richard began serving his fellow veterans and assisting them in every way possible. As Commander of AMVETS North Shore Memorial Post #21 in Oyster Bay, Richard developed the Post into a caring and sharing organization recognized throughout Nassau County. For the last 30 years, Richard has continued to be a force within the veteran community, providing assistance to those in need, building awareness to important issues of concern and participating in numerous worthwhile events and charitable endeavors. He strives on a daily basis to build its membership and is always endeavoring to reach out to veterans and their families and offer assistance. Richard is extremely active with advocating for the needs of veterans at every level of government, detailing the needs of those who have borne the ravages of their service both physically and mentally. Richard’s commitment to United States veterans is extensive and extraordinary.
The Friend of Veterans Volunteer of the Year recipient is Michael Yannotti, owner and head trainer of Camo Crossfit in Farmingdale. Michael has been a longtime advocate of veterans and has been exemplary in his efforts to support veterans in every way possible. As a successful local businessman, Michael has conducted many veteran fundraisers and hired veterans. One of the fundraisers he and his team help orchestrate honors and raises awareness for veterans and fallen heroes. The event, which honors 24 Heroes over 24 Hours, raises money for veterans in need and remembers those who have sacrificed. Michael also supports our community’s first responders through fitness and employment. He has been tireless in his advocacy efforts and has earned the respect of the community and his colleagues through his exemplary leadership, boundless energy and positive attitude.
“There is no greater recognition than to be acknowledged by one’s peers, and these members of the veteran community truly deserve tremendous credit,” Supervisor Saladino added. “The legacy of this year’s recipients’ involvement on issues concerning veterans is to be truly commended. I hope to see a large crowd in attendance at the award ceremony, and free concert and fireworks show on July 9th.”