3rd Annual Veterans Hall of Fame

CNN Hero Nominee & 3-Star Army General Join Ceremony

Mahopac, N.Y. – (11/22/2013) – Families, friends and fellow veterans packed the Mahopac Falls School auditorium on Thursday evening to honor dozens of local veterans. Senator Greg Ball (R,C,I-Patterson), Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, inducted 27 veterans from throughout Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester into the 3rd Annual 40th Senate District Veterans’ Hall of Fame.

Senator Greg Ball asked towns, villages and cities throughout his district to nominate a veteran for the Hall of Fame Ceremony. Senator Ball said he created the Veterans’ Hall of Fame to honor outstanding veterans from throughout the area.

“I created the Veterans Hall of Fame to honor outstanding individuals who have nobly and selflessly served the United States of America. Nominated by their communities, these heroic men and women have pursued a distinguished path in both their military and civilian lives, demonstrating admirable qualities and reaching great achievements worthy of this recognition,” said Senator Greg Ball. “These extraordinary veterans devoted their lives to a cause greater than one’s self, nobly dedicating themselves to preserving the safety and freedom of the American people through acts of courage, honor and integrity.”

Dale Beatty, Co-Founder of Purple Heart Homes and a 2013 CNN Hero nominee, gave the keynote speech at the Hall of Fame Ceremony.

In addition to Dale Beatty, Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson was in attendance at the Hall of Fame Ceremony to accept an award on behalf of his father, Ralph Anderson of Buchanan. Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson is a three-star general in command of the XVIII Airborne Corp and Fort Bragg.

“John and I are always humbled to be in the company of those that served before us. We believe we are no different – all veterans are alike. We are faced with the same challenges of age, disability and life challenges,” said Dale Beatty. “At Purple Heat Homes we ask all of our Service Connected Disabled Veterans to pay it forward, to make a difference in their community or the lives of others. To help carry on the mission at home – utilizing the training we learned in the military to be true humanitarians. I am truly honored to be among those that will be inducted into the 3rd Annual Veteran’s Hall of Fame. We want to absorb their experience and wisdom so we can and my generation can truly continue to make our country great at home.”

Steven Mattson, the honoree from Brewster, said the most important part about his nomination is the message it sends to children.

“The best part of being nominated for this award is the message it sends my kids. They see by my example that it is important to give back to the community, and veterans have a special place within our community,” said Mattson.

“Senator Greg Ball’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame initiative has provided our military veterans with the recognition and honor they deserve for serving this great Country,” said Mount Kisco Mayor, Michael J. Cindrich.

The Carmel Town Board nominated Yvonne Rustico as their pick for the Hall of Fame.

“I am so happy to nominate Yvonne Rustico as Carmel’s nominations for the Veterans’ Hall of Fame. I can’t think of a better woman to receive this nomination. She has selflessly donated countless hours of her time to our community and is well deserving of this award,” said Carmel Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt. “I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Senator Greg Ball for organizing this great event.”

Somers Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy said the town was very proud of their nominee, Private First Class Nicholas Lapenna.

“Somers is very proud of our newest inductee into the Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Nick LaPenna has been active in Veterans affairs in Somers for many many years and is richly deserving of this accolade. We thank him for his service to our country,” said Supervisor Murphy.

“I am thrilled to be here this evening to share this glorious moment all the veteran honorees and to celebrate with my husband, Sgt. Anthony Nacerino, as he is inducted into the Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Tony is a true hero in every sense of the word. A Sergeant in the U.S. Army, he served in Vietnam and was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star. His unassuming strength and conviction is a daily inspiration to my children and me,” said Putnam County Legislator Ginny Nacerino. “Tony is a wonderful husband, father and human being. He is devoted to his family, his God and his country.”

The Town of Southeast nominated Tech-5 Class Donald Pippin. After Don’s service in the Army he went on to become a very successful musician.

“Don is ‘Southeast’s own and only Tony award winning Veteran’. Don won the Tony for the musical Oliver on Broadway. We are so happy to see Don honored at Senator Ball’s Veterans Hall of Fame. I would like to thank Senator Ball for hosting this event every year, giving us the opportunity to recognize outstanding veterans like Don,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Hudak.

The Town of Mount Pleasant had two nominees, Petty Officer Ronald Rose and Corporal Edmund Burke.

“Corporal Edmund Burke and Petty Officer Ron Rose are receiving the recognition tonight they richly deserve. They both valiantly served our country during World War II and were able to return to their communities as active participants,” said Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Joan A. Maybury. “They are wonderful examples of ‘the greatest generation of Americans’ and are deserving of high praise and immeasurable thanks for their service.”

Laurence Gibbs of Putnam Valley was nominated for Senator Ball’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame by Putnam County Legislator Sam Oliverio.

“Larry Gibbs is a soft spoken gentleman who rarely speaks about his time in service. Yet Larry served in Vietnam at the time of the Tet Offensive and was instrumental in keeping our Huey Helicopters in the air as a Crew Chief,” said Legislator Sam Oliverio. “He also protected our troops on the ground by manning the M-60 machine guns mounted on those Hueys.”

Lewisboro nominated Private First Class Daniel Sant. Mr. Sant served with the 77th Infantry Division with the U.S. Army.

“I am proud to have Dan Sant as a resident of my town. He is the embodiment of the American Dream, not just because he moved here and served in the Army, but because he has given to his community ever since,” Peter Parsons, Lewisboro Supervisor.

Each veteran that was honored at the ceremony has also been included on a traveling wall that will tour local municipalities and schools throughout the 40th district.

The complete list of inductees along with pictures and biographies:

Beekman, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Richardson

Brewster, Staff Sgt. Steven Mattson

Buchanan, Chief Fire Controlman Ralph Anderson

Buchanan, Corporal Joseph Occhipinti

Carmel, Yeoman 3rd Class Yvonne Rustico

Carmel, Captain Edmund Francis Duncan (Posthumously)

Cortlandt, Fire Control 3rd Class George Price

Croton-On-Hudson, Gunners Mate 3rd Class Joseph Turturro

Hawthorne, Sergeant E-5 Giuseppe “Joe” Tanzi

Kent, Staff Sergeant Charles Connors

Lewisboro, Private First Class Daniel Sant

Montrose, Private First Class Paul Raphael

Mt. Kisco, Corporal John Hvisch

Mt. Pleasant, Petty Officer Ronald Rose

Mt. Pleasant, Corporal Edmund Burke

New Castle, Staff Sergeant Mark Blindman

North Salem, Sergeant Andrew Sandor

Patterson, Sergeant Anthony Nacerino

Pawling, Sergeant Michael Kelly

Peekskill, Corporal Charles Wassil, Jr. (Posthumously)

Pleasantville, Captain Scott Elliott

Putnam Valley, Specialist 4th Class Charles Monte

Putnam Valley, Specialist Laurence Gibbs

Somers, Private First Class Nicholas Lapenna

Southeast, Tech-5 Class Donald Pippin

Yorktown, Sergeant Dimitri Sywyk

Yorktown, Sergeant William Lewis


For more information, please contact (845) 531-9796


About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →
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