Peekskill_FitzgeraldBy Rasheed Oluwa

A group of 30 veteran’s, including five from the Peekskill/Cortlandt area, where honored Saturday during the second annual veteran’s Hall of Fame.

The Veterans’ Hall of Fame was created by Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, and designed to honor outstanding veterans throughout the 40th Senate District. Each veteran inducted will also be individually honored on a traveling wall that will tour local municipalities throughout the 40th district.

Local honorees included Brendon Fitzgerald and George Ondek of Peekskill; Emanuel Uva, of Buchanan; William Nazario, of Corlandt; and Vincent Matero, of Croton-on-Hudson.

“I am excited to induct this second class of heroes into our Veterans’ Hall of Fame! These men and women have been hand-picked by their communities because they chose a path of courage, honor, integrity and bravery; a path that helped shape America as we know it, protecting our way of life and liberty,” said Senator Greg Ball. “America is not a great country because of its politicians. It’s a great country because of our veterans.”

Below are bios of the local vets who were inducted:

Brendon Fitzgerald

Brendon Fitzgerald was born in March 1983. He served in the United States Marine Corps from December 2003 to December 2007, receiving Combat Action Ribbons for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He reached the rank of Corporal and held the position of Team Leader of Infantry Marines.

During his service, Fitzgerald earned the Combat Action Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Fitzgerald is Vice Commander of American Legion Post 274 in Peekskill, and organizes the Annual

Peekskill American Legion 5K Run/Walk to support Operation Comfort Warrior. He is also a Gas Utility Operations Supervisor at Con Edison, and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Manhattan College.

Vincent Matero 

Vincent A. Matero was born in Croton-On-Hudson, New York in April 1916. He served in the United States Navy for three years and three months, reaching the rank of Gunners Mate 2nd Class.

During his service, Matero earned the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Matero has served as Past Commander of American Legion Post 505, Past Chairman of the Croton Central Veterans Committee, and as Past Chairman of the American Legion Post 505 Boy’s State Committee. He has earned the American Legion, Fox Ekloff Post 505 Past Commander Award, the Croton Central Veterans Committee Past Commander Award, and was named Grand Marshall of the 2011 Croton Summerfest Parade for his volunteer and civic commitments to the community.

Matero retired after 44 years as a Brakeman and Conductor for New York Central Railroad.

William Nazario

William Nazario was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in August 1947. He served in the United States Marine Corps for 18 months during the Vietnam War, volunteering to be Pointman for Fox Company 2, 7th Battalion, and receiving promotion to Squad Leader. He achieved the rank of Lance Corporal.

During his service, Nazario earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Stars, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm and frame, the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal, and the New York State Conspicuous Service Star.

Nazario serves as Commander of Chapter 21 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, as Junior Vice Commander and Legislative Officer of the Military Order of the Purple Heart for the State of New York, as Co-Chair of the 19th Congressional District Veterans Advisory Council and the Westchester County Veterans Advisory Council, as Chairman of the Cortlandt Hudson Valley Veterans Committee,  and is a member of the Disabled American Veterans and American Legion Post 1030 in Verplanck. He has earned the Military Order of the Purple Heart 2012-2013 National Patriot of the Year, 2011 Male Volunteer of the Year for the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System, and the United Auto Workers Region 9A 2009 Veteran of the Year for his volunteer and civic commitments to the community.

For the past five years, Nazario has conducted the Coat and Clothing Drive for the Montrose VA Clothing Store. Mr. Nazario was at the forefront of the battle against the Enhanced Use Leasing (EUL) of the Montrose VA Campus of 160 acres with rallies and petitions.

William Nazario retired from the United States Postal Service in 1997.

George Ondek

George Ondek was born in April 1942. He served in the United States Army for two and a half years, stationed at the 71st Medical Evacuation Field Hospital in the Central Highlands of Vietnam from 1967 until he was injured by rocket attacks during the Tet Offensive. He then completed his service at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado, achieving the rank of Specialist 5th Class.

During his service, George Ondek earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Marksmanship Medal with Rifle Bar, and the Good Conduct Medal.

Ondek is a member of the American Legion Post in Verplanck, New York, the Northern Westchester Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, the Northern Westchester branch of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Yonkers Chapter of AmVets, and the Cortlandt Hudson Valley Veterans.

Emanuel Uva

 Emanuel Uva was born in Verplanck, New York in October 1919. He served in the United States Army, 178th Field Artillery Battalion from July 24, 1941 to August 25, 1945, reaching the rank of Technician 5th Grade.

During his service, Uva earned the Purple Heart for injuries received in June 1944, the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque, the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, World War II Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.

Uva is a member of and volunteers for the Buchanan Seniors. He helps others by driving them to the city for doctor appointments and is a parishioner of St. Christopher’s Church. Uva has earned the Golden Alert Safety Award in recognition of 27 years of superior overall driving performance, and was also recognized for being a supporter of the Yonkers Skating Club for his volunteer and civic commitments to the community.

Uva retired from Teamsters Union 445 after 45 years driving large trucks. (ARTICLE)

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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