North Hempstead formalizes veterans services committee

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The North Hempstead Town Board has established a Veterans Advisory Committee to ensure local veterans receive needed benefits and services.

Details of the committee were unveiled before the board unanimously passed a resolution formally establishing the panel Tuesday night.

The committee will have seven to 15 members, selected from among interested volunteers from various town communities. Members of the committee will include veterans from World War II through Iraq and Afghanistan, and a social worker who has worked with service personnel.

"I want to do this for the veterans to put a smile on their faces," said Anthony Catalano, 93, of Mineola, who will serve on the committee. He was a sergeant in the 70th Infantry Division of Gen. George Patton's 3rd Army during World War II and is a member of the Albertson Post's Color Guard and Drill Team.

The committee will make recommendations on issues related to town policies that affect veterans, keep town officials informed of problems veterans may be having, and provide solutions to such problems. They will also explore ways to honor and recognize those who served in the military, advise the town supervisor and board on issues of importance to veterans and their dependents, and recommend how to best disseminate information about veterans' heath care, benefits and services.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth will designate two town employees to act as liaisons to the committee. Bosworth announced last month that the panel would be formed after North Hempstead was designated a "Purple Heart Town" by the national Military Order of the Purple Heart.

"We're trying to make sure we get all the different perspectives," Bosworth said. "We want to address all the concerns and see what we can do to help. This is going to be something to address all veterans -- from World War II veterans to veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq."Catalano said the committee is important because it will help remember World War II veterans as being from "the greatest generation."

"We're losing more and more World War II vets," Catalano said. "I want to make sure more people attend the Memorial Day parade and wave American flags. I don't want anybody to forget us."Anyone with questions about the new panel is asked to call 311 for information.

The exact date for the first meeting has not been set.

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