VERONA, NY – More than 400 local veterans were honored for their service at the Oneida Indian Nation’s Annual Veterans Recognition event at Turning Stone Resort Casino, including Oneida Indian Nation members and Oneida Indian Nation employees who are veterans.
Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, Major General Greg Anderson from Fort Drum, and Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University 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, more than a dozen elected officials from across Central New York attended the Veterans Recognition Event.
“Our region’s veterans and those who support them through active duty service, elected office, community organizations, and more, represent the very best of our country,” said Halbritter. “Together, we show that people from different backgrounds with different ways of life and different beliefs can come together and embrace the core values that define us – values that are greater than any factors that divide.”
Major General Anderson spoke about the Oneida Indian Nation’s legacy of supporting the U.S. military. “The Oneida Indian Nation continues to foster that tradition of honor and service in every one of our nation’s wars, proudly serving and fighting to protect our freedoms,” said Anderson. “In addition to their military contributions, they also support our veterans with food pantries, museums, history, donating cell phones to keep our uniformed service members in contact with their loved ones – all kinds of acts of service. We could not have better allies and friends than the Oneida Indian Nation.”
“As we approach Veterans Day, as well as celebrate Native American Heritage Month, it’s important we take time to reflect on the debt of thanks we owe our veterans and their families, and also be thankful for the contributions of the Oneida Indian Nation,” said Vice Admiral Murrett.
At the event, Oneida Indian Nation Member Vaughn “Chip” Isaacs was recognized for his dedication and commitment to the U.S as a two-tour Vietnam veteran. He is the last living Oneida Indian Nation member who served in the Vietnam War. Isaacs’ Agent Orange exposure led to a throat cancer diagnosis, which eventually took his voice.
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.
In addition to the Veterans Recognition Event, the Oneida Indian Nation supports local veterans in several ways throughout the year, including offering free golf lessons for Central New York veterans through PGA Hope and salmon fishing at Salmon Acres through Project Healing Waters. The Oneida Indian Nation also partners with several local military and veteran organizations, including Feed Our Vets, Cell Phones for Soldiers, and Ft. Drum.