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Suffolk Police Veterans Association Founder Kenneth Bombace saw (Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Suffolk Police Veterans Association Founder Kenneth Bombace saw the need for a decompression period for police officers returning from military service and re-entering the police force, when he returned from Iraq in 2005. "We realized that in Suffolk County there are over 600 veterans in the police force," Bombace said. He was joined by several hundred of those veterans at the Suffolk Police Veterans Association's Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. (Aug. 24, 2013)

LI veterans discuss time in service

The Suffolk Police Veterans Association held its annual Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. Veterans representing all five branches of the military and every conflict dating back to WWII attended. Some of those present discussed their decisions to join the service and staying connected with veterans today.

Keith Godwin lost his right hand during his
(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Keith Godwin lost his right hand during his service with the marines in Okinawa, Japan, between 1986 and 1990. Upon returning home, he received care at the Northport VA Medical Center. He now works as an addiction therapist for returning veterans. "I was a veteran that needed help, and they gave me that help," Godwin said. "I look forward to coming to work every day now." (Aug. 24, 2013)

Suffolk Police Veterans Association Founder Kenneth Bombace saw
(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Suffolk Police Veterans Association Founder Kenneth Bombace saw the need for a decompression period for police officers returning from military service and re-entering the police force, when he returned from Iraq in 2005. "We realized that in Suffolk County there are over 600 veterans in the police force," Bombace said. He was joined by several hundred of those veterans at the Suffolk Police Veterans Association's Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. (Aug. 24, 2013)

Live music performed by volunteers entertained more than
(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Live music performed by volunteers entertained more than 600 veterans and their family members at the Suffolk Police Veterans Association's Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. (Aug. 24, 2013)

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(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

"I always wanted to join [the military]," said Sharon Friedrich, of East Northport, who served with the Navy between 1984 and 1989. Her decision was influenced by her father's service in the Army between 1955 and 1958. "I had a love for this country, and I was following in Dad's footsteps." Friedrich joined her father, Carl Friedrich, at the Suffolk Police Veterans Association's Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. (Aug. 24, 2013)

Christopher Ingersoll brought his wife, Nikki, and their
(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Christopher Ingersoll brought his wife, Nikki, and their children -- from left, Ethan, 8, Gabriel, 11, and Vera, 7 -- to the Suffolk Police Veterans Association's Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. Ingersoll served as a photojournalist with the Air Force between 2005 and 2010. He now works in the Department of Public Relations at the Northport VA Medical Center. "I really enjoy working with the vets, and it's great what they do here," Ingersoll said. (Aug. 24, 2013)

Jason Green of Oceanside, who served in the
(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Jason Green of Oceanside, who served in the Army between 2007 and 2012, and completed one tour in Afghanistan, manned the grill at the Suffolk Police Veterans Association's Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. After returning home, Green joined the BBQ Brethren, a competitive grilling organization that provided the food for the SPVA's event. "Grilling is a lot of fun, especially when we get to help out the veterans," Green said. (Aug. 24, 2013)

Members of the Long Island BBQ Brethren, a
(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Members of the Long Island BBQ Brethren, a competitive grilling team, volunteered to cook ribs, chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and a variety of other comfort foods for the Suffolk Police Veterans Association's Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. (Aug. 24, 2013)

Wendy Robertson of Kings Park joined her father,
(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Wendy Robertson of Kings Park joined her father, Ed Carley of East Northport, at the Suffolk Police Veterans Association's Southern-style Barbecue. Robertson was following a centuries-old family tradition when she joined the army in 1986. After settling in Northport in 1638, Robertson's ancestors served in every American conflict since the Revolutionary War, including her father, who served in the army between 1965 and 1968 during the height of the Vietnam War. (Aug. 24, 2013)

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Charles Ross of Farmingdale served two tours of
(Credit: Mary Kate Mahoney)

Charles Ross of Farmingdale served two tours of duty in Beirut with the Marines between 1983 and 1986. Ross now serves as the financial secretary for the Suffolk Police Veterans Association. He enjoyed the festivities at the SPVA's Southern-style Barbecue on Saturday. "The barbecue is an awesome time, and it gives us a great feeling being able to give back to the military community." (Aug. 24, 2013)

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