Veterans from St. Lawrence County and across Central and Northern New York were honored Thursday at a ceremony at Ft. Drum.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to say ‘thanks’ to these brave men and women who have one of the toughest, most selfless jobs there is—the job of protecting our freedom,” said State Sen. Patty Ritchie.
The veterans all were nominated by family, friends, co-workers and comrades-in-arms for their military service and their continuing work and involvement in causes that benefit and improve our local communities.
Each nominee was presented with a plaque outlining highlights of their service at the ceremony. Representatives of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division were on hand to recognize the honorees.
Those from St. Lawrence County honored at Thursday’s ceremony were:
• Clarence Berry of Ogdensburg, U.S. Army, WW II, Korea and Vietnam era, longtime veterans activist and military historian
• Nellie Coakley of Canton, Vietnam War Army nurse who pioneered efforts to help veterans in northern New York with post-traumatic stress issues
• Donald Cooke of Ogdensburg, Vietnam combat veteran, longtime member of the Army Reserves, and Ogdensburg veterans activist who helped bring the Moving Vietnam Wall to the city
• Ronald “Joe” Fields of Lisbon, Air Force veteran who waited for orders during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 on whether he would bomb Havana; longtime Lisbon veterans affairs and community activist
• Jeremiah Pete Havens of Ogdensburg, for 32 years a New York State veterans counselor, advocating for North Country veterans
• Thomas Morrison, Army Russian interrogator who saw the end of the Cold War in Europe and uses his experiences to inspire his social studies students in the classroom
• Patrick Rourk of Norwood, 24-year Air Force veteran, veterans advocate, and former St. Lawrence County Veterans Services Director
• Arthur G. Wilson of Ogdensburg, WW II and Korean War-era sailor and longtime veterans activist and advocate for disabled vets in St. Lawrence County.