Memorial Day is an occasion to remember those who paid the ultimate price to secure our nation’s freedom and security. The day helps ensure that we recognize those who fell in defense of our nation, and the enormous sacrifice by their family.
Rensselaer County strives to never forget those who served our country with our nation’s military. The third floor of the County Office Building in downtown is witness to that effort, housing the Hall of Heroes. The Hall includes plaques for residents who have earned the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, the names of veterans recognized at the monthly Honor a Deceased Veteran ceremony and residents now or recently serving with the military. The Hall also includes a display for Derek Farley, a Nassau native killed while serving overseas and trying to disable an explosive device that placed his fellow soldiers and innocent civilians at grave risk.
The Hall of Heroes is testament to the county’s efforts to provide care and support for our veterans. Those services are coordinated by the county Veteran Service Agency, which helps access federal veteran benefits and medical attention, access to various county services, van rides for medical visits and other tasks. The county VSA was headed for a number of years by Bob Reiter, a Vietnam veteran and Stephentown resident. Bob was known for his dedication to veterans and families of veterans, and proudly served as director until his passing from a long illness several months ago.
This spring, the Legislature confirmed the appointment by County Executive Jimino of Peter Goebel, a veteran of the U.S. Army and resident of Nassau, as the new director of the county Veteran Service Agency. Peter will follow in Bob’s footsteps, working to ensure our veterans get the support and service they need and deserve.
Peter’s family have long been involved in public service. His father Henry served for several decades as a Nassau town justice, and his brother Jonathan has served as a member of the Nassau Town Board. His mother Alice has long been active in education about the origin, use and merit of the U.S. Constitution. We look forward to working with Peter and others in county government to ensure a high level of service for those who served.