This year the Memorial Day activities throughout my district were especially poignant and significant. It is always an honor to participate in any ceremony honoring veterans and this year the special tributes and recognitions added to the events.
The Town of Cortlandt held the first ceremony I attended on Friday May 24th. The Muriel Morabito Community Center was packed as usual for the ceremony and was attended by a large number of elected officials. Many veterans were in attendance, including a significant number of members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
For me, this ceremony was significant because I was able to announce the recent vote at the Westchester County Board of Legislators designating Westchester a Purple Heart County, only the third in NY to do so. I also had the honor of making the announcement and presenting the NYS Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Willie Nazario, a proclamation memorializing the designation.
On Monday the 27th the Peekskill ceremony had a special honor for Charlie Wassil who recently passed from health complications contracted during his efforts at Ground Zero. I knew Charlie since we were teammates in Lapolla Little League on the Cortlandt Roofing minor league tea. Charlie was our pitcher and I the catcher. We reconnected when I was Mayor of Peekskill and Charlie was a detective n the police force. He was a very patriotic, dedicated and loyal person. His passing marks the second friend to give his life as a result of the terrorist attack on 9/11. The other was Sam Oitice, who gave his life to save others that fateful day. At the Peekskill ceremony I was proud to present Commander John Donohue of the American Legion a copy of the Westchester County Purple Heart Resolution.
I ended my Memorial Day events in Yorktown beginning with their Memorial Day Parade. The parade was very well attended. The weather was perfect and a large number of veteran and civic groups participated, including the Yorktown High School Band and others.
Finally, I attended the services held at Jefferson Village. The ceremony is only in its second year but is a well organized and attended event. It was a special day to honor our fallen heroes and recognize those still among us and their families. The ceremony also includes a special recognition to the area’s first responders with many of them in attendance.
I hope you enjoy the photo collection compiled from all the events I attended.
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.
This entry was posted in government
. Bookmark the permalink
Pingback: Legislator John G. Testa’s photostream: Various Memorial Day Celebrations District 1 | Bazzomanifesto Upstate