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Veterans activist named to head Nassau agency

Mathew J. Rufrano, a Bethpage veterans activist who has known the county executive for more than 20 years, has been named the new Nassau Veterans Agency director.

County Executive Edward Mangano announced his choice Tuesday, saying Rufrano's 25-year involvement in veterans issues made him a good fit.

"The county's Veterans Service Agency is a key source for all of our veterans and will be a vital part of my administration," Mangano said. "Mathew Rufrano brings many years of experience in veterans services and I welcome him to our team."

Rufrano, 66, a production manager at a Hauppauge textile plant, takes office Jan. 15.

The decision to replace Ed Aulman as the director had been met with disappointment by many area vets, who said the ousted director had been a strong advocate in assisting veterans and their families apply for federal benefits, obtain medical and rehabilitative services, get job training and placement and connect with the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Rufrano, a former staff sergeant who left the Air Force in 1970, has been an activist in the veterans community for more than 25 years.

He is a founding officer with Nassau Chapter #82 of Vietnam Veterans of America, and was a founding member of the Town of Oyster Bay's Veterans Advisory Council.

He said his greatest challenge will be to encourage young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to make use of veterans services to which they are entitled.

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