VERONA, NY – More than 400 local veterans were honored for their service at the Oneida Indian Nation’s 22nd Annual Veterans Recognition Event at Turning Stone Resort Casino. The men and women recognized at the event included Anthony Pircio, a 102-year-old WWII Army Air Corps veteran from Manlius, and several Oneida Indian Nation members and Oneida Indian Nation employees who are veterans.
Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, Colonel Matt Braman from Fort Drum and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. all shared remarks at the event about the special relationship between the Oneida Indian Nation and the United States military and the service of local veterans. Additionally, several elected officials from across Central New York attended the Veterans Recognition Event.
“Our role as First Allies is an element of our shared history of which we are most proud,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “We have always shared a profound bond with the United States Armed Forces that was forged on the battlefields of the American Revolution. Our connections are more important than the things that divide us, especially when we come together in the name of our highest ideals, such as freedom, community and the recognition of the humanity of all people.”
“Ancestors of the Oneida Indian Nation fought alongside George Washington in the Continental Army and locally here in the Battle of Oriskany and in Saratoga,” said Col. Matt Braman from Fort Drum. “The Oneida people brought 600 bushels of corn to feed our starving soldiers at Valley Forge and the Oneida Indian Nation has continued to serve in every conflict since American independence.”
“When you look at the American Revolution and who was with the United States, there was only one ally – the Oneidas,” said Picente. “There is a monument a few miles from Turning Stone that stands as a symbol of the partnership the Oneida people formed with the United States on the battlefields of Oriskany. Today, we need to be as vigilant in the services we provide to all of our local veterans and look forward to a time when there are no homeless veterans and the suicide rate drops tremendously.”
At the event, Oneida Indian Nation Member Gil Stout was recognized for his dedication and commitment to the United States. Stout is a U.S. Army veteran who was stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany with the 508th Maintenance Company as a Teletype Operator. Stout is also a 33-year employee of the Oneida Indian Nation who is currently working in the Facilities Department.
The Oneida Indian Nation also presented a donation to Feed Our Vets, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing fully-stocked food pantries for veterans.