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Hudson Valley Press

February 5th, 2014

Sparkill Resident Receives Soldier Award

County Honors Rev. Louis E. Sanders to launch Black History Month.
NEW CITY - County Executive Ed Day today presented the 2014 Buffalo Soldier Award to Sparkill resident and Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force Chaplaincy Rev. Louis E. Sanders.
Rev. Sanders, 70, holds a Bachelors of Science degree from North Carolina A & T State University, a Masters of Science from the City University of New York, Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York and Chaplain’s certification from the Air Force University and Chaplaincy School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

He began his career teaching Social Studies and was the first African American male teacher to integrate the Camden County High School in Camden, North Carolina. In 1968, Rev. Sanders was the first African American male hired by the Tuckahoe School District in Eastchester, NY where he also taught Social Studies and was chair of the department. 

While in the United States Air Force Chaplaincy, Rev. Sanders attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He served actively during Desert Storm and led a project in which he recorded religious music and sent over 1,000 tapes to troops. 

Since 1981, Rev. Sanders has served as the Senior Pastor of the St. Charles A.M.E. Zion Church in Sparkill. He is the Chaplain for the Sparkill Fire Department and has served as a member of numerous boards and organizations in the County.  In April, he will receive an Honorary Doctorate from St. Thomas Aquinas College.

“We are proud to honor Rev. Sanders with this year’s Buffalo Soldier Award,” said County Executive Day.  “We thank him for his brave and dedicated service to our country and for his continued service to our Rockland community.”

The Buffalo Soldier Award has been presented annually to an outstanding African-American veteran who resides in Rockland County.  It is named after the soldiers of the 10th Black Cavalry Regiment, who were nicknamed “Buffalo Soldiers” after Native Americans spread the legend of the soldiers’ uncommon valor, likening them to buffalo because they suffered wound after wound yet did not die.

They earned their fearsome fighting reputation in the Kansas Frontier and were never defeated in 23 years of service in the Indian Wars, which lasted from 1867 to 1890.  The 10th Cavalry also served in World War I, World War II and Vietnam.

A panel of past Buffalo Soldier honorees helped select Rev. Sanders for this year’s award.

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