Westchester Designated A Purple Heart County

NYS Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart accepts County Designation from County Legislator John Testa

New York State MOPH Commander Nazario accepts County Designation from County Legislator John Testa

County Legislator John G. Testa announces that Westchester County has become the third county in New York State to be officially designated a Purple Heart County. Recently both Orange and Putnam County Legislatures passed similar measures.

At the Town of Cortlandt Memorial Day Ceremony on May 24, 2013 Testa presented NY State Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart William “Willie” Nazario with an official proclamation from the Westchester County Board of Legislators. On May 6, 2013 the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed the resolution introduced by Testa.

“Since becoming a legislator,” Testa said, “I have taken it upon myself to be a leader in veteran issues. I have devoted myself to bringing forward issues important to area veterans and their families. It began with leading the county in taking a united stand against the downsizing and elimination of services at the Montrose VA facility and the Enhanced Use Lease that was threatening the facilities future with luxury housing.” Testa went on to explain how he recently facilitated the creation of an office for free legal services for veterans in Northern Westchester (more details on this initiative at a later date).

“I have worked closely with Willie Nazario, the various veteran organizations throughout my district and the Westchester Veteran Services Agency to assist our veterans in any way possible and to bring forward the services they deserve,” Testa said.  “I am proud and honored to be able to announce that Westchester County is now an official Purple Heart County in New York State. Westchester has a proud history of service to our country since the Revolutionary War and every conflict since,” Testa added.

The county Purple Heart designation is one close to Commander Nazario’s heart. “It is my goal to have New York State be the first state in the country to have every county within it declared an official Purple Heart County,” said Nazario.

The Westchester County Resolution reads as follows:

Westchester County Legislature                                                                                                      A Purple Heart County

WHEREAS, on August 7, 1782 at his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, Commander in Chief General George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit, the precursor to the modern day Purple Heart, for singular meritorious action and is the oldest military decoration in use today and

WHEREAS, the Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the United States Armed Forces who was wounded or killed in combat with a declared enemy of the United States of America and

WHEREAS, the people of the County of Westchester have great admiration and the utmost gratitude for all the men and women who have selflessly served their country and this community in the Armed Forces; and

WHEREAS, veterans have paid the high price of freedom by leaving their families and communities and placing themselves in harm’s way for the good of all; and

WHEREAS, the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women from Westchester County who served in the Armed Forces have been vital in maintaining the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by our citizens; and

WHEREAS, many men and women in uniform have given their lives while serving in the Armed Forces; and

WHEREAS, many citizens of our community have earned the Purple Heart Medal as a result of being wounded or killed while engaged in combat with an enemy force, construed as a singularly meritorious act of essential service; and

WHEREAS, August 7th has officially been designated as the day to remember and recognize veterans who are recipients of the Purple Heart Medal.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Westchester County Legislature hereby proclaims Westchester as a Purple Heart County, honoring the service and sacrifice of our Nation’s men and women in uniform wounded or killed by the enemy while serving to protect the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans.

Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart join Legislator Testa at the Cortlandt Memorial Day Ceremony: L-R: Dale Novak, Frank Mulfari, Eugene Lang, Commander Nazario, Leg. Testa, Eugene Perrotta, John Ascani

Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart join Legislator Testa at the Cortlandt Memorial Day Ceremony:
L-R: Dale Novak, Frank Mulfari, Eugene Lang, Commander Nazario, Leg. Testa, Eugene Perrotta, John Ascani

About Legislator John G. Testa

John G. Testa, a life-long resident of Peekskill, began his first term on the Westchester County Legislature in January 2010. Prior to his successful run for the District 1 Legislative seat, he served 3 terms as Mayor of Peekskill from January 2002 until December 2007. Before becoming mayor he also served a four-year term as a Councilman. From his first days in office Testa worked tirelessly to set the City on the path of economic stability. Peekskill flourished under this plan, increasing the city fund balance to its highest in history. During John’s tenure in office, the NY State Comptroller’s Office named Peekskill one of the most fiscally sound municipalities in the State; independent auditors proclaimed Peekskill as being in its best fiscal condition in over 30 years; and Moody’s Investor Service agreed to upgrade its bond rating, resulting in further savings. The plan he put in place was so successful that it enabled the City of Peekskill to pass three budgets in a row with a 0% tax increase. These fiscal skills will prove valuable to Testa as he works to put the brakes on what has been wildly escalating county spending and unchecked government growth. He has pledged his efforts to work to consolidate services, eliminate wasteful spending and improve efficiency. In addition to the fiscal conservatism that served Peekskill so well, Testa worked to promote the city, attracting investment, jobs and an increased tax base. Over $100 million of private investment came to Peekskill in the forms of new residential construction, retail space, and the redevelopment of historic structures. As Mayor, Testa led a successful battle to stop the unfair and unsafe plan to send sewage to the Peekskill plant from outside the sewage/water district. John’s roots are deep within the soil of Northern Westchester. His father’s family has lived here for more than a century and his mother’s family is nearing that mark. He is proud that he was born in Peekskill and has lived and worked here all his life and, with his wife Nancy raised their two children here.
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