Before celebrating America with a special patriotic performance by renowned artist Lee Greenwood, Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino and the town board hosted a “Salute to Veterans” where they recognized individuals who continually serve the community and advocate for issues and concerns for their fellow veterans. At the special event that was recently held, the town honored the following hometown heroes:
Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Steven Bonom is a United States Navy veteran, proud resident of North Massapequa and president of the Nassau County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Working through the challenges brought on by the pandemic, Bonom’s leadership has resulted in increased membership and participation for the chapter. He also routinely welcomes home troops returning to Long Island and is there to offer assistance to them in whatever capacity is needed.
Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Richard Magee is a United States Army veteran who served in the Korean War. A proud resident of Massapequa, Magee is a past commander and lifetime member of VFW Post 7763 in Massapequa Park, where he has chaired the organization’s “Buddy Poppy” program, which raises money to help needy and disabled veterans and their families. He also volunteers his time to local schools during veterans acknowledgement programs and serves in the post’s Color Guard at community parades and functions.
Veteran Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Chad Ryals is a United States Army veteran who did two tours in the Middle East during his tenure in the military from 2002 to 2007. A multiple recipient of the Purple Heart, Ryals has battled with PTSD and uses his experience and understanding to support and help his fellow veterans. He is a member of the Legion Riders, which helps veterans and their families in need, and also does handyman work in the homes of his fellow veterans.
Town of Oyster Bay Veteran Volunteer of the Year George Kelleher is a 50-year resident of Massapequa and United States Navy veteran. He took part in Navy air operations in the Arctic in 1960, and is an extremely active member and officer with both AMVETS Post 88 in Massapequa and Massapequa American Legion Post 1066. Additionally, Kelleher has been in charge of the legion’s Color Guard for the past seven years.
“The town is proud to recognize and honor amazing individuals who have helped to shape our communities for the better through their continuing advocacy and exemplary community service each year, and our ‘Salute to Veterans’ concert provides the ideal backdrop to honor them,” Saladino said. “Over the past year, our great nation has come together to face COVID-19, so honoring our veterans carries an especially poignant message of unity and our love of freedom.”
—Submitted by the Town of Oyster Bay