2004 Honor a Veteran Archives

HAV - 2004

Willard McGraw, Jr., US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Korean War veteran Willard McGraw, Jr. A ceremony was held on Monday, January 5, 2004, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

McGraw, a longtime resident of Cohoes, was born in Troy and graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1949 and from Paul Smith’s College in 1954. He served in the 176th Armored Field Artillery Battalion of the United States Army during the Korean War, where he served on the front lines, assisting forward observers and relaying fire direction instructions back to the guns. He received a number of medals for his combat service and in 1998 was awarded the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross.

McGraw worked as an administrator with Cohoes Hospital, a technician for the New York State Bill Drafting Commission and for 17 years as an account clerk for the Albany County Department of Social Services until his retirement in 2002.

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Clarkie Everett, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Clarkie Everett. A ceremony was held on Tuesday, February 3, 2004, at the North Albany Post at 35 North 1st Street in Albany, recognizing an outstanding African American veteran as part of Albany County’s celebration of African American History Month.

Everett was raised in Mississippi and Alabama and in March of 1943 was drafted into the United States Army to serve in World War II. He was stationed in Burma, transporting war supplies to the allied forces along the Burma Road and was discharged in 1945.

Everett moved to Albany in 1952, where he worked in construction and steel mills. He was employed at Callahan Road Improvement for 35 years before retiring. He was an active member of the community, serving as a charter member of the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church; a founding member of the Capital City Lodge #78; second vice president of the Albany District 369th Veteran’s Association; and was instrumental in fund raising for the Henry Johnson Memorial and Boy Scout Troop #5 of Albany. Everett was recognized with numerous awards for his outstanding service to the community.

Everett was married to his wife Louise for 55 years and had one daughter, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

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Eric S. Lazzaro, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Eric S. Lazzaro in a ceremony held on March 1, 2004, at the Joseph E. Zaloga Post in Colonie.

Eric S. Lazzaro was born in Argentina and moved to Waterford, NY at the age of eight. He was later a resident of Green Island and Menands. Lazzaro served in the United States Army during World War II and was specially trained to remove and lay minefields, serving in Normandy, North France, Rhineland and Central Europe. He received several medals, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal.

Lazzaro was a mechanical technician at the Watervliet Arsenal for a total of 15 years, before and after his military service, until 1957. He was then employed at the Los Alamos Scientific Lab in New Mexico until his retirement in 1986, when he moved back to the Capital District. Lazzaro was a life member of the American Legion, VFW and Elks Club and was the beloved husband of Delores Brady Lazzaro, the devoted father of John J. Lazzaro, and the loving grandfather of Duane, Kelsea and Erica.

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Vincent J. Forte, Sr., US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Korean War veteran and local sculptor Vincent J. Forte, Sr. A ceremony was held on Monday, April 5, 2004, at the Sheehy-Palmer Post, on Delaware Avenue in Albany.

Forte, a native of Albany, served in the United States Army as a communications specialist during the Korean War. He received two field promotions for his knowledge and leadership. He returned to Albany after the war and worked at Niagara Mohawk as a civil and structural designer for 37 years.

Forte was also a gifted artist and sculptor. His noted works include the bronze bust of African-American World War I hero Henry Johnson, which is displayed in Washington Park, and the bronze bust of Christopher Columbus, which is displayed in the Italian American Community Center. Before his death he was working on a marble bust of President Bill Clinton. He was a member of the Italian American Community Center, the Leonardo DaVinci Lodge and the Melvin Roads American Legion Post #1231. 

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Robert E. Sweeney, Jr., US Navy

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Robert E. Sweeney Jr. in a ceremony held Monday, May 3, 2004, in the Cahill Room of the County Office Building.

Sweeney was born in Brooklyn and was a resident of Albany for 30 years. He served in the United States Navy during World War II as an aviation chief ordinance man, performing anti-submarine patrols over the Atlantic Ocean.

Sweeney served for 37 years with the New York State Police, where he rose to the rank of colonel before retiring in 1977. He then served as deputy commissioner for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles until 1982. Sweeney was very active in the community, serving as commander of Fort Orange American Legion Post #30; president of the Albany Kiwanis Club; a board member for the Albany Board of Zoning Appeals, Teresian House, the Pine Hills Youth Board and Board of Governors of the Student Alumni Association of SUNY Empire State College. He was also a volunteer at the Veterans Hospital and for the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

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Vincent 'Jim' Crisafulli, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Vincent “Jim” Crisafulli in A ceremony held Monday, June 7, 2004, at the Blanchard American Legion Post in Delmar.

Crisafulli was born in Rensselaer and was educated in Albany City schools. He joined the United States Army in 1943 and served during World War II with the 749th Tank Battalion in England, France and Germany. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

After the war, he opened Crisafulli Brothers Italian Grocers in Albany, which under his leadership became United Food Service, the area’s largest independent food service distributor. Crisafulli, a strong supporter of the culinary arts in the Capital District, was a founding member of the New York State Food Service Distributors Association and a member of the New York State Restaurant Association. He was a lifelong member of the 749th Tank Battalion Association and the Albany Sons of Italy. He also sat on many boards for community organizations and was a benefactor to many charitable causes, including St. Peter’s Hospital and the College of St. Rose.

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Frank W. Ott, US Navy

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Frank W. Ott in a ceremony held July 6, 2004, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Ott was a lifelong resident of Albany and graduated from Philip Schuyler High School. He served in the United States Navy during World War II in the North Atlantic as an electrician’s mate on the U.S.S. Hubbard DE 211.

After the war, he was an electrician and a member of the I.B.E.W. Local #724 for 57 years and was also president and treasurer of the Local #724 Retirees Club. Ott was dedicated to helping his fellow veterans and was a member of the DE Sailors Association, past commander of the Fort Orange Post #30 from 1996-1998 and a volunteer at the Stratton VA Hospital. 

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Kenneth R. Bunzey, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Kenneth R. Bunzey in a ceremony held on Monday, August 2, 2004, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Bunzey, a native of Berne, served in the United States Army during World War II with the 104th Infantry Division, also known as “the Timberwolves,” seeing combat in Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. The Timberwolves experienced 195 days of continuous combat. He earned a Bronze star for valor and received the Purple Heart.

After the war, Bunzey worked as a machinist in the large motor and generator division of General Electric in Schenectady for over 30 years. He was a dedicated member of his community, serving as the fire chief of the Berne Volunteer Fire Company and was an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and a longtime Little League volunteer.

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Thomas J. Green, Jr., US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Thomas J. Green, Jr. in a ceremony held on Tuesday, September 7, 2004, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Green, a lifelong resident of Albany, joined the United States Army in 1944, serving with the 89th Division during World War II in Central Europe and Rhineland. After his service, he worked for the United States Postal Service for 30 years, retiring in 1987. Green was very active with the Catholic War Veterans Pat Aiezza Post #1181, serving in every position including past commander. He was also a member of the Bucci-McTague American Legion Post #1530 and helped raise funds for the Veterans Monument Restoration Fund.

Green was also very active in helping children and youth in our community. He helped establish a Drum and Bugle Corp, giving many children of Albany’s South End an opportunity to develop an appreciation for music. He purchased and distributed sporting equipment for underprivileged youth and sponsored Christmas parties for children. He helped raise funds to support a local wrestler in his bid to make the U.S. Olympic Team and also supported State and National Spelling Bee contestants and the Boy Scouts.

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Dr. John Lyons, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Dr. John Lyons in a ceremony held on Monday, October 4, 2004 at the Albany County Office Building.  

Lyons lived most of his life in Albany. He attended Christian Brothers Academy, Union College and Albany Medical College, earning his medical degree in 1937. He served during World War II in the United States Army as a major with the 33rd General Hospital in the North African and Italian campaigns.

After the war, he practiced internal medicine until 1967 when he became the commissioner of the Albany County Department of Health until 1982. As commissioner, he oversaw the design and construction of the Albany County Health facility in Albany’s South End, which was dedicated in his name in February 2001; created the Albany County Sewer District in 1968; increased access to prenatal care for women; founded the first-ever walk-in clinics to address the growing problem of sexually transmitted diseases while maintaining patients’ confidentiality; and established the lead paint program, the Chronic Chest Disease Clinic and Pediatric Care units. Lyons also served as the division physician to the New York State Police for 27 years and was a consultant to the State Department of Health for seven years.

Lyons served his community in many capacities including associate professor of medicine at Albany Medical Center and St. Peter’s Hospital; consultant to the V.A. Hospital; a member of the Council of Community Services, the Albany County Mental Health Board, the New York State Health Planning Advisory Council; the board of Blue Cross-Blue Shield; the advisory board of Child’s Hospital; the board of Bender Laboratory and the Environmental Conservation Advisory Committee.

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James D. Hayes, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran James D. Hayes in a ceremony held on Monday, November 1, 2004, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.  

James D. Hayes, a lifelong resident of Watervliet, served in the United States Army in the 2nd Armored Division during World War II. He served in the Allied advance through Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge. Hayes operated ESSO (Exxon) gas stations, beginning in 1938 until his retirement in 1970.

He was involved in many fraternal, civic and veterans organizations in Watervliet for over 40 years. He was a member of the Watervliet School Board for 21 years, serving in many positions; treasurer of the Watervliet Civic Center for many years; president of the Watervliet Merchants Association and one of the founding fathers of Watervliet Little League. He was also a member of the Watervliet Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Watervliet Elks Lodge, Lt. John A. Patton American Legion Post and the Catholic War Veterans. Hayes was a lifetime communicant of St. Patrick’s Church in Watervliet, where he served as an usher and a member of the Holy Name and St. Vincent de Paul Societies and was active in St. Patrick’s Food Pantry.

The community recognized his dedicated service with many awards, including the Watervliet Community Council’s Outstanding Citizen Award. In 1998 he was voted into the Ellen Bevins Chapter of the National Honor Society by the Watervliet High School student body, and in 1994 the Watervliet High School football field was designated the James D. Hayes Cannoneer Field for his many years of service to youth and as a linesman for Watervliet Football home games.

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James W. Dillon, US Navy

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Korean War veteran James W. Dillon in a ceremony held on Monday, December 6, 2004, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.  

Dillon, a lifelong resident of Albany, served in the United States Navy during the Korean War as a dental prosthetics technician. He was employed with ADT Security Systems and Western Electric Company before returning to the field of dental prosthetics as a dental ceramist. He served for 10 years with the Ticonium Company, traveling to dental companies throughout the United States and Europe training technicians in this specialized field. He also worked as a private dental technician for local dentists and local dental laboratories. He then served as a chief investigator in the Albany County Public Defender’s office for 18 years before his retirement, after which he worked part-time as a court attendant in the Albany County Courthouse.

Dillon served as a committeeman in Albany’s 12th Ward for 27 years and was also active with several veteran and community organizations. He served as president of the Blessed Sacrament Holy Names Society and was a 37-year member of the Bucci-McTague Post as well as a longtime member of the Northeast NY chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Italian American Community Center and the Polish American Citizens Club.

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