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 John G. Testa

Former District 1 County Legislator, John G. Testa is served five terms at the Westchester County Board of Legislators, spending the last 3 terms as BOL Minority Leader. John G. Testa is a lifelong resident of Peekskill who first entered elected public service as a member of the Peekskill Common Council in 1998 and then served three terms as Mayor. He previously served on the Conservation and Parks Advisory Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. John became an elected official eager to improve the City in which his family has lived for more than a century and quickly earned a reputation as a strong, independent, nonpartisan voice for fiscal responsibility. John received a BS degree in Technology from SUNY Oswego, where his academic achievements gained him induction into Epsilon Pi Tau, the International Honorary Fraternity of Technology. He earned his MS degree in Technology from the City College of New York. He began his teaching career in 1980 at Peekskill High School, his alma mater, as an instructor in Technology and Social Studies, retiring in 2013 after 33 years teaching. John has been a leader in support for the Arts Community in Westchester. He presided over the construction of the Peekskill Art Lofts, the establishment of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and the complete restoration of the Paramount Center for the Arts, originally a 1930’s movie house and helped bring critical funding to many Westchester programs. Legislator Testa received the “Advancing the Arts in Westchester Award” by ArtsWestchester. John has a been a leader on environmental issues for two decades and has a long record of initiatives he has supported and spearheaded. His active involvement in developing and promoting environmentally friendly policies began as mayor and continued throughout his time as Westchester County Legislator. His efforts consistently earned John the endorsement of the NY League of Conservation Voters. John’s most recognizable accomplishment has been his promotion and preservation of local history and historic landmarks, bringing an unprecedented focus on the region’s rich history, and its legacy of historic Victorian architecture. His roots in historical preservation stem from his experience as a Revolutionary War re-enactor and member of The Brigade of the American Revolution for 50 years. John was instrumental in securing the preservation of the Lincoln Depot, now the Lincoln Depot Museum, where he now serves as President. The museum was recognized in 2015 as one of The Best Museums in Westchester. He also secured the preservation of historic Fort Hill as parkland, a 40-acre parcel that was originally a Revolutionary War encampment site. Under his leadership, the United States Dept. of the Interior declared Peekskill a “Preserve America Community.” John was able to establish a record number of National Register designations of local structures, including the first Downtown and Neighborhood Historic Districts and supported the preservation of the historic Miller House in North White Plains. In 2017 John was named a “Champion of History” by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill. John and his wife of 37 years, Nancy, live in Peekskill and have two adult children, John, Jr. (fiancé Courtney Kelly) and Katy (husband Mike Mearon). John and Nancy recently welcomed the arrival of their first grandchild, Lacey Mae, in 2019.
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