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Cloudy,48°
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Veterans Day 2013
A push to help veterans in Valley Stream
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Jack Sharkey, left, is one of the members of Valley Stream

More than 1,700 veterans call Valley Stream their home, having served during a variety of conflicts and peace times, in locations all over the world.

In an effort to support the men and women who have served to protect the United States and its citizens, the village created a Veterans Advisory Committee earlier this year. Members have been meeting for several months, and the fruits of their labor will soon pay off with a Veterans Day ceremony and information fair set for Monday at the Valley Stream Community Center.

Representatives from a variety of organizations will be on hand to assist veterans and their families. Anyone searching for veteran personnel records for themselves or a family member can come and get help. There will be information on property tax exemptions, help for sleep apnea and Pets for Vets.

Jack Sharkey, a member of the committee who served in the Air Force from 1949-53, said the purpose of the group is to help veterans get services they are entitled to, but might not know about. “I think we’re taking a new approach,” he said, “and I think that’s always an exciting thing to do. Hopefully we will be able to have success with it and I think we will.”

Sharkey has been the emcee at the review stand on Rockaway Avenue for the Memorial Day parade for nearly three decades and belongs to American Legion Post 854. He is joined on the committee by George Fox, Jay Hunter, Marty Kielawa and Peter Restivo.

Hunter is the only member of the committee who is not a veteran, but his father, James, served in Vietnam. As vice commander of the Sons of the American Legion and manager of Post 854’s banquet hall, Hunter has a history of supporting area veterans, which is why he was tapped for the committee.

At 48, Hunter is the youngest member of the committee and said he can bring a unique perspective to the group. He especially wants to reach out to the men and woman who have served more recently.

“I think a lot of people think of veterans as older guys,” he said. “There are a lot of guys coming home every day that are veterans that are in their 20s and 30s and 40s, that put it all on the line for our way of life.”

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