MEXICO, NY – State Senator Patty Ritchie honored 36 local veterans from the central and northern NY area at the annual “Veterans’ Hall of Fame” ceremony held this year at the Edick-Hamlink VFW Post 369 in Mexico on Thursday (May 12.)
Of the 36 local heroes, Fulton Common Councilor representing the Sixth Ward of the city, Lawrence Macner was one of many nominations ultimately chosen to receive the distinction of being inducted to the NYS Senate “Veterans’ Hall of Fame.”
Macner was in good company alongside 12 other Oswego County nominees including Thomas R. Bradway, Clark B. Francis, Father Moritz Fuchs, Donald Mark Grant Sr., Edward F. Kelley Jr., Richard J. Kemmis, Theodore LeClair, Frank L. Manchester, Nicholas Wilson Mansfield, Harold “Hap” Petrie, Dr. Allen Rosenberg and Duane R. Smith.
The other nominees coming from Jefferson County included Edward L. Chiasson, Paul Failing, Peter Fazio, Morris Parish, Timothy Radley, Philip A. Seybert, Gary Shatraw, Rollin Ives Tremont, Herbert L. Waite, Thomas Urling Walker and Richard D. Wallace as well as nominees from St. Lawrence County including Michael J. Bouchard, Joseph H. Connor, Joseph Cosentino, Ronald W. Day, Joseph E. Denoncourt, Charles LaRose, Earl McIntosh, Herbert McIntosh, Theodore McIntosh, Jack M. Regan, Lawrence “Tom” Robinson Jr. and Michael W. Webster.
All nominees joined together for a ceremony in the packed VFW full of friends and family there for support as the commencement began.
“We are honoring a very special group of people, simply put they are heroes. These are people who in many instances put their lives on the line when they answered the call to service. Not only then, they also answered the call to service when they came back home,” said Senator Ritchie.
Ritchie continued to explain that all the nominees presented with this award completed their duty to the nation while in service, but also completed their duty to their communities by continuing to be involved and set tremendous examples once they returned home.
“I just want to say to all of you that we are honoring today, we are so humbled and we are so thankful for your service. You are the reason that our country is great. So thank you, we look forward to recognizing your contribution to our great nation,” Ritchie said.
Macner, nominated by his girlfriend and fellow veteran of the United States Army, was humbled to receive such an esteemed award.
The 10th Mountain Division Color Guard featured a special presentation of the United States flag while nominees watched on in salute before scouts from Boy Scout Troop 825 led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Mexico High School Girls’ Select Choir sang the national anthem with some crowd participation.
Colonel Donald L. Paquin, Commander, 10th Mountain Division Artillery spoke to the crowd before the nominees were individually recognized with a certificate and specialized ribbon with the colors of the NYS flag.
“Your service is noble and divine in virtue. Throughout history, veteran contributions to this nation were not limited to their military service. Veterans bring back their experience and love of country to each community,” he said.
After serving 28 years with the U.S. Air Force/National Guard as a Jet Engine Mechanic/Quality Assurance Inspector, Macner can best identify with this statement, believing that his military career has helped shape the man he is today and continues to affect every aspect of his life, including his role on the Fulton Common Council.
“In the Air Force, we were trained to work as a team, always work together. I have taken what I was trained in the military and applied it to all my life experiences such as working with the Common Council, working together with other elected officials and the community,” said Macner, who has served the Sixth Ward of the city of Fulton since 2012.
This distinction from Senator Ritchie is one of many awards Macner has received throughout his military career an in retirement as a veteran.
While some of his most notable memorabilia from his years of service include a tail section of an F-16 made out of plywood with a plaque displaying his service information along with signatures of his fellow service members, and two presidential letters signed from President Bush and President Obama, Macner says this award sits high on his list of favored distinctions.
“There isn’t a room in the house that doesn’t have one of his awards in it,” said Kim Gonzalez, Macner’s girlfriend and the person whom submitted his nomination.
Among those awards are the Meritorious Service Medal, two Air Force Commendation Medals, two Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal and even more.
After serving and receiving such plentiful awards, Macner continued to serve his community as a city letter carrier employed with the U.S. Postal Service for 35 years, retiring in 2009 as a driving safety instructor.
Aside from his service to the Fulton Common Council, Macner has received the city of Fulton’s “Life Saving Award” for assisting Fulton Police in rescuing a child who fell through the ice in a pond in 2004 and continues to serve as chairperson of the Memorial Day Salute for the city of Fulton, among many other community contributions.
“He has accomplished so much in his personal and military career. My heart just bursts with how much he has to offer, I wanted the rest of the world to see that too. Recognition is so fleeting today, there are so many in service who don’t get the recognition they deserve and today I wanted to let other people share in his accomplishments as well,” said Gonzalez.
Recognition didn’t escape these 36 heroes, all of whom served their country with pride and honor and will forever be recognized in the NYS Senate “Veterans’ Hall of Fame.”