Tag Archives: veterans

Congressmember Bob Turner helps secure military headstone for World War I veteran


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congressmember Bob Turner.

Private First Class William Henry Hogan no longer lies in an unmarked grave.

Thanks to Hogan’s hero — Congressmember Bob Turner, who took the reins in hunting down lost records of the World War I veteran — the family is now at peace.

“It became an emotional thing,” said grandson Michael Hogan of Glendale. “Here is a World War I veteran buried in an unmarked grave with no recognition. That shouldn’t happen to anybody that serves.”

Before his father, William John — also a war vet — died in 1987, Michael inherited the desire to track down and confirm his grandfather’s military history.

“Right before my dad died, we were talking about how there was no marker on my grandfather’s gravesite in New Hampshire. My dad said, ‘We need to fix that.’”

But the military records were lost, and Michael said his attempts to unearth the documents were unsuccessful.

“I thought this would never come to. I pretty much had written it off,” he said.

First, Michael said he contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs National Personnel Records Center (VA). He said they informed him that a fire in 1973 at a St. Louis storage facility destroyed 80 percent of all records and that they could not find anything on his grandfather.

He then contacted the VA Hospital in the Bronx where his grandfather resided upon his passing. The hospital told him that those records would be in storage “somewhere in New Jersey.”

Finally, Michael called Turner, who dug up the records. Turner then contacted the VA to confirm Michael’s grandfather’s service and secured him a military headstone. Michael discovered his grandfather had in fact served in France around 1917.

“When Congressmember Turner personally broke the news to me, I got all choked up. It was a very emotional moment for me,” Michael said. “It was a moment of happiness, joy and tears because I thought this would not come about — especially when I was told by the National Public Records that they couldn’t find anything. I knew my grandfather would finally be getting recognition.”

The icing on the cake, Michael said, was that his and his father’s birthday had just passed.

“Congressmember Turner gave us both a great birthday gift,” Michael said.

Right around the holidays, Turner presented Michael with a folded American flag from the VA — usually given to families of deceased service members at military funerals — and a certificate of honor for his late grandfather.

“William Hogan deserves proper acknowledgement for his service to our country,” Turner said. “Michael’s commitment to his grandfather is a testament to all veterans that their service will never be forgotten.”

The new and officially acquired military headstone was installed at St. Joseph Cemetery in Bedford, New Hampshire at the end of December — granting the long-time wish of three generations of Hogans.

“I didn’t know my grandfather because he died before I was born,” Michael said. “It brought him to life for me. That was the gratification — it brought him closer to me. Right now, my father and grandfather are both probably looking down at me smiling.”

Celebrate the end of the Iraq War


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

In January 2009, President Barack Obama took office with 142,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. Today, there are zero. Our combat mission in Iraq has ended and the Iraqi people now have full responsibility for the security of their nation. Obama has kept his word and brought the war in Iraq to a responsible end.

Iraq still faces challenges in the coming years, but as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated, “Iraq is equipped to deal with them.” Obama remains committed to Iraq’s long-term security and to the success of our service members when they return home.

While the war has ended, we should pay tribute to the service of our military men and women – especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice or were injured serving their nation. We should also honor the sacrifices and commitments made by their families here at home.

Now, as thousands of New Yorkers are returning home from Iraq, we must once again reaffirm our commitment and responsibility to support service members and their families by providing quality health-care, access to education, training to re-enter the civilian work force, job placement services and encouraging companies to hire our troops and put them back to work.

The promise to end the war in Iraq was not a political promise – it was and is a promise made by our Commander-in-Chief to protect our nation. Today we should be proud of our troops and our president, and stand united in moving forward as one nation.

 

Matthew Silverstein

Democratic State Committeeman, 26th AD

YDA Veterans & Military Affairs Caucus Chair

Congressmember Bob Turner holds small business forum for veterans


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congressmember Bob Turner

Congressmember Bob Turner and other officials recently hosted a Veterans’ Small Business Forum at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The event, which took place on Saturday, December 10, provided information to veterans about creating and expanding small businesses.

“I am honored to have been able to co-host this event,” Turner said. “Events like this will help veterans gain the knowledge and learn what tools and programs are available to help them create and grow their businesses.”

The forum, hosted by 11 New York representatives, featured a panel discussion with business experts from national and local small business development organizations, government agencies and universities. It provided insights for veterans on small-business opportunities, business expansion and management, as well as financing options such as the Surety Bonding and the Patriot Loan Programs.

“Our veterans are some of the most highly-skilled, well-trained individuals in the world. It is in the best interest of our nation and our economy to help them transfer their discipline, adaptability, and drive into the business world,” Turner, a veteran himself, continued.

Putting America’s veterans back to work has been a top priority for Turner, he explained. He recently voted yes on HR 2433: The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. The bill includes provisions expanding education and training, improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), facilitating seamless transition, and translating military skills and training for veterans.

“Our returning soldiers have the skills necessary to start and grow a business. It is our job to ensure they are aware of the programs that are available to assist them. These men and women have been the leaders of our military, now they will be the leaders of our economy,” Turner said.

For more information about programs available to help veterans with employment and training you can visit http://www.dol.gov/vets/ and http://va.gov/.

Queens Veterans Day Parade honors those who served


| rcasiano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo. The third annual Queens Veterans Day Parade drew 800 local veterans and their supporters to Middle Village this past weekend.

The third annual Queens Veterans Day Parade drew 800 local veterans and their supporters to Middle Village this past weekend to honor those who served in the Vietnam War.

Veterans from the Vietnam Veterans of America, Queens Chapter 32 and the North Shore Marine Corps League were joined by several community leaders and organizations on Sunday, November 6 for a parade and ceremony at Christ the King High School.

During the only Veterans Day parade in Queens, the community cheered on their Vietnam War vets, some of whom recall the criticism at home for serving in the then very unpopular war.

“It was great to be appreciated, but look how long it took,” said Pastor Toro, Jr., of Ridgewood, who was honored as one of the Grand Marshalls and is the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Queens Chapter 32. “I am standing up here for all the Vietnam War veterans. We have their backs.”

The ceremony capped the afternoon parade that had various groups march 10 blocks from Metropolitan Avenue and 79th Place to the high school.

School groups such as the Sunnyside Drum Corp. and the Sacred Heart Twirlers and many more supporters joined the Queens veteran groups as they marched. Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley and Peter Vallone Jr. were also on hand to salute the veterans at the parade.

David Hills, a Marine from Forest Hills, stood on the sidelines with his wife, cheering on the classic cars, bag pipe music and his comrades who marched in the parade.

“It’s the biggest parade I’ve ever seen. It’s very nice,” said Hills, who is a member of the North Shore Marine Corps. As he watched, a committee member thanked him for his service with a handshake.

“It’s terrific,” he said of the acknowledgment. “We really appreciate it when they say that.”

The annual Queens Veterans Day Parade started three years ago out of a need from the community to salute their troops closer to home.

The parade was sponsored by the Catholic War Veterans Post 1172, Middle Village Chamber of Commerce and the Middle Village Property Owners and Residents Association.