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Westchester Veterans Agency Hosts Breakfast

Directors from the four sponsoring hospices honor local veterans. From left, Mary K. Spengler' Renee Levesque,Rose Rosenberg and Wanda Orton. Photo Credit: Contributed
The Rev. Ervin R. Graves, hospice chaplain, with retired Army Col. Mary Westmoreland. Photo Credit: Contributed
Vito Pinto, director of the Westchester County Office of Veterans Affairs, top right, joins local veterans at breakfast in honor of Veterans Recognition Month. Photo Credit: Contributed
Veterans stand and salute while their branch’s fight song is sung to the crowd. Photo Credit: Contributed
The Sleepy Hollow High School Chorus concludes the breakfast by signing each armed force's fight song. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Westchester County Veterans Service Agency and  the region’s four hospice organizations hosted the fifth annual interhospice countywide breakfast earlier this month.

The event commemorated Veterans Recognition Month and honored county residents who have served in the armed forces.

A record number of close to 300 veterans, representing the five branches of the military -- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the Coast Guard -- attended the breakfast. Co-sponsors of the event included Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester; Hospice Care in Westchester and Putnam; Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care; and Phelps Hospice.

Following a welcome from planning committee member Cornelia Schimert, RN, the Rev. Ervin R. Graves, hospice chaplain, shared a moving invocation. Presenters at the breakfast included retired Army Col. Mary Westmoreland; Vito Pinto, director of the Westchester County Office of Veterans Affairs; Dr. Wavell Hodge from VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System; and Edward M. Dinan, president and CEO, New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital.

Keynote presenter Westmoreland shared her personal story, history, and inspirations in joining and remaining in the armed forces – including her time at the Pentagon and other leadership roles. Hodge spoke about his history in with the Army and the difference and sacrifices the men and women in attendance made for our country.

In addition to the program, musical interludes were provided by Simon Boyar of Boyar Music Studios, who played many patriotic songs throughout the morning.  The Sleepy Hollow High School Chorus closed the breakfast by singing the fight songs for each military branch, as attendees saluted and sang their respective branch’s song.

At the breakfast’s conclusion, Westmoreland returned to the podium for the remembrance service, joining Graves and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Barnes, who played a touching trumpet performance of taps. Each veteran in attendance received a mug to take home.

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