CARMEL, N.Y. – County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by local elected and appointed officials Monday to recognize the efforts of a Bob Palmer, a World War II Veteran from Brewster, and Ryan Lepore, an Iraq Veteran from Putnam Valley, during the opening ceremony of the Veterans Day Row of Honor along Lake Gleneida.
Up-and-coming music sensation Hailey Knox, a Carmel High School senior, sang the National Anthem.
“Veterans Day is about remembering the efforts of all the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Odell. “We decided to honor one of our oldest Veterans and one of our youngest Veterans to recognize the Veterans who walk amongst us every day.”
Palmer, a third-generation military service man, served in the U.S. Army from August 1942 to December 1945, achieving the rank of platoon sergeant and commanding a 16-man gun section. He was part of the 445 Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion in the 8th Infantry Division during the European campaign of World War II. During his service, Palmer earned the American Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He is a Life Member of the Brewster Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 672 and served as its Chaplain for 20 years. For three decades, Palmer categorized and placed over 1,200 American flags on veterans graves from Southeast, mostly by himself. In 2012, the torch was passed and the “The Bob Palmer Project” was started.
Lepore, who was a freshman at Putnam Valley High School on Sept. 11, 2001, felt it was his duty to serve his country. After graduating in 2005, he followed his older brother Richard’s footsteps and joined the army.
Stationed in Vilseck, Germany, Lepore was deployed to Iraq for 15 months between 2007 and 2008, during “The Surge.” He was a cannon crewmember on a Howitzer Cannon and his unit conducted combat patrols and raids in a hostile environment. Lepore was honorably discharged with the rank of private first class in 2010. In 2015, he became the commander of Putnam Valley VFW Post 391 to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ transition and cope with civilian life. Lepore is the first post commander who served in the current Iraq War and one of the youngest VFW commanders in the country.
The Row of Honor, started in 2013, is the installation of over 250 American flags with the names of Veterans, law enforcement officers and first responders that lines the shores of Lake Gleneida. It is on display twice a year to observe Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Sponsorships to support the Putnam County Veterans and Military Museum may be purchased for $100 per flag. Checks should be made out to the Joint Veterans Council and sent to the Putnam County Veterans Affairs Office, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Building 3, Carmel, NY 10512.