The Westhampton Free Library paid tribute to members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350 during a special Hometown Heroes celebration at the VFW Hall in Westhampton Beach on Jan. 25.
The celebration culminated the library’s yearlong initiative that recognized local veterans, both living and deceased, for their service to the country and their contributions to the community.
Library Director Danielle Waskiewicz presented VFW Commander Bill Hughes with a certificate of appreciation and a flag flown at the library in the veterans’ honor. In addition, each of the 260-plus members of the VFW Post received special recognition pins featuring a soaring eagle. The library capped the celebration by presenting a book it had published containing biographies of the veterans honored over the past year.
“We are truly honored to pay tribute to the men and women who made sacrifices to serve our country and preserve our freedom,” said Waskiewicz. “This program is just a small gesture of thanks.” Hughes thanked the library for its recognition and for honoring the service of the VFW veterans.
VFW Commander Michael Burke also shared his gratitude at the podium. “The best thing you can say to a veteran is ‘thank you for your service,’” said Burke, who spoke of the veterans’ service within the community as well as to their country.
Several local officials were in attendance for the recognitions, including Sen. Kenneth LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele, both of whom expressed their appreciation to the veterans. Thiele presented the VFW Post with a proclamation in their honor, as did representatives from the offices of Congressman Lee Zeldin and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming. Also addressing the veterans was Southampton Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer, whose grandfather was one of the honorees.