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Honoring veterans, Islandia's mayor reserves prime parking spot at Village Hall for those who have served

The parking spot at Islandia Village Hall closest to the front door has been permanently reserved.

While some towns and villages dedicate parking spaces for employees or hybrid vehicles, Islandia Mayor Allan Dorman recently put up a sign in the Village Hall parking lot reserving a single space for military veterans -- possibly the only municipality on Long Island to do so.

"It's a dedicated spot that shows respect to veterans," Dorman said, adding, "the old vets, when they come in and pay their taxes and get their permits, they love it."

Dorman, 65, is himself a Vietnam War and Marine Corps veteran, though he said he has not parked in the veteran's spot. Nor will he. It's for other veterans.

In reserving the space, the village did not require confirmation of drivers' military record, Dorman said. And he said he had not heard of the village code enforcement officers ever having to ask civilians to avoid parking in the spot.

"I don't know if they've had to check. It's an honor system," he said.

The sign went up during the summer at Village Hall on Old Nichols Road. There is another vets-only parking space at the village's Veterans Memorial Triangle at Old Nichols Road and Johnson Avenue.

Officials of military veterans groups on Long Island said this is the first time they've heard of this amenity being offered at a municipal facility such as a village hall.

"He's the kind of guy who would do something innovative," said Rich Kitson, the Suffolk County chapter president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, who called Dorman a "Marine's Marine."

Joe Ingino, Nassau County chapter president of the Vietnam Veterans of America and southern district director of the Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council, echoed the praise.

"What he's doing is a great thing. More towns should do that," Ingino said. "A lot of veterans are handicapped and a lot of veterans have been afflicted with all sorts of diseases, so walking can be a challenge."

The parking space is the latest in Dorman's efforts to recognize military service, including the approximately 150 veterans who live in the village of about 3,000 residents.

In addition to building the memorial in 2008, he also started a new Veterans of Foreign Wars local chapter this year, named for Col. Francis Midura, an Army chaplain who presided over the village's Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, and who died in 2012 at 67.

Dorman also worked with the Long Island Builders Care Development Corp.'s program, Building New Homes for Returning Veterans, to bring six lower-priced new houses for returning veterans to the village. The housing site was later discovered to have contaminated debris during a Suffolk County district attorney's investigation into illegal disposal of contaminated materials at that and other sites around the county.

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