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November 14th, 2012

This Week in Orange County 11-14-12

Orange County Executive Edward Diana

I hope that you took time this week to exercise your right to vote. Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of the elections, we are very fortunate as American citizens to have a say in our government, the freedom to express opinions, and the right to vote for who we want to represent us and how we would like government to function on our behalf. It is for these freedoms that people from other nations have risked life and limb to travel here to the United States and become American citizens.

This, and other rights, that we hold dearly as Americans, rights that form the foundation of our great nation, is made possible because of the service and sacrifice of our veterans. It is thanks to the brave men and women in uniform, both past and present, that we are able to enjoy the freedom and liberty we cherish so dearly. It is because of them that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth – the land of the free and the home of the brave! When you see a service man or woman in uniform, no matter what day it is, please stop and say thank you for all that they’ve done to keep our nation safe from harm.

In addition to being home to the 105th Air National Guard base and U.S. Marine Corps Det. 49 at Stewart Airport, the U.S. Army Reserve in Bullville, and the United States Military Academy at West Point, Orange County is home to more than 25,000 veterans of all ages and conflicts as far back as World War II. Under the direction of Tony Zippo, a United States Navy veteran himself, we are proud to have an outstanding Veterans Service Agency that is dedicated to helping our County’s service men and women receive the programs, services, and support they need in civilian life. This team assists veterans with the frequently complex paperwork and details required for processing claims and pensions. This year, they’ll help ensure our County’s veterans receive more than $40 million in benefits and compensation.

Unfortunately, among these brave men and women who have sacrificed for our nation and fought to preserve our freedoms, there are those who now find it difficult to put food on their table for themselves and their loved ones. For those Orange County veterans who find themselves in that position, we are fortunate to be able to help them out and grateful for the support from our friends at ShopRite Supermarkets and the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley to make it possible. With their assistance, the Orange County Veterans Food Pantry is able to provide home delivery of food and household items to nearly 200 veterans and/or their families in Orange County. More than 100,000 pounds of food will be delivered to those veterans in need this year. Anyone looking to donate to the County’s Veterans Food Pantry or assist with home deliveries should contact Director Zippo at 291-2464 or The need is great all year long.

To learn more about the programs and services provided by Orange County’s Veterans Service Agency, visit the Orange County website at, call the office at 291-2470, or make an appointment to visit their offices located at the beautiful Orange County Veterans Cemetery at 111 Craigville Road, Goshen.

If you treasure your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – thank a veteran!

Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.

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