June 20th, 2012
Newburgh Rowing Club honors Tremblay
Senator William Larkin speaks during the dedication of the Newburgh Rowing Club’s new flagpole, featuring a memorial plaque to Joseph Tremblay.
NEWBURGH - On June 7, 2012, at the Newburgh Rowing Club Boathouse in the City of Newburgh, Senator William Larkin dedicated the Newburgh Rowing Club’s new, oversized flagpole, with a memorial brass plaque, to former rower and Purple Heart Recipient, US Marine Cpl. Joseph Tremblay, who died for his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 27, 2005.
The Master of Ceremonies was Ian Berkowitz, President of the Hudson Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. The ceremony was attended by the U.S. Marine Color Guard, many active duty US Marines from Stewart Marine Corp Base, as well as veterans, current rowers, and members of the public. Also in attendance were City of Newburgh Mayor Judith Kennedy and Board of Education President Dawn Fucheck, as well as Joey’s father, Lawrence Tremblay.
Senator Larkin, a veteran himself, then remembered Joey and talked of his pride in all of our men and women in the military, with so many coming from the Hudson Valley. He dedicated the Flagpole, and the United States Marine Corp. Color Guard then slowly raised the flag and all in uniform saluted it.
Newburgh Rowing Club and NFA Varsity Crew Head Coach Ed Kennedy then remembered Joey, who he first met when Joey was 11 years old. “Joey rowed for me from 7th grade to 12th grade,” said Coach Kennedy, “and he worked harder than any coach could ask for. He never wanted to be a coxswain, which is a kind of a leadership position, and which is what I wanted him for originally. No, Joey always wanted to be a rower, a worker, always scrapping and getting that extra meter any way he could. I guess I wasn’t surprised then, in his senior year, when he told me he wanted to join the Marines. I told him I was proud of him.”
Coach Kennedy then recalled how Joey came back after his four year tour of duty ended and, along with some of his buddies from the US Marines, built the massive south wall of the Newburgh Rowing Club Boathouse. While he and Coach were working, Joey told Coach Kennedy he had joined the US Marines Reserves, and would be going back to Iraq.
“He told me he had to get back to his brothers,” said Kennedy.
Mr. Berkowitz, having met with Lawrence Tremblay, took over the Dedication from there. He recounted Cpl. Tremblay’s distinguished military service, and told of his last few months. Cpl. Tremblay returned to Iraq in late 2004. On April 27, 2005, while conducting combat missions in the Iraqui City of Hit, Cpl. Tremblay and 3 of his brother Marines were killed by an I.E.D. Cpl. Tremblay was 23 and engaged to be married.
The NFA Crew Team then walked out the 600-lb. 8-man crew shell known as the “Joseph Tremblay,” which had been named for Cpl. Tremblay immediately after his death. “I don’t know what it is,” said Coach Kennedy,” but this right here is the winning-est boat in the League. It just can’t lose.”
Later than evening, Senator Larkin received the First Annual Corsairs Cup at a dinner ceremony at the River Grill, for his decades of assistance to the sport of rowing in Newburgh. Mr. Tremblay then presented the first annual Cpl. Joseph Tremblay Memorial Scholarship to NFA Senior and Varsity Crew Team Captain Casey Baker, who will be attending Iona College in the Fall. Maureen Mennerich, mother of Lt. Abby Mennerich, presented the first Lt. Abby Mennerich honorary Scholarship to Poughkeepsie Day School Senior and NRC Varsity rower Natasha Vega. Lt. Mennerich, herself a product of the NFA Crew Team, is the first female NFA graduate to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, where she rowed all four years. Natasha will be attending Penn State in the Fall, and will be on the crew team.