Town of New Windsor residents, families and veterans joined together in preparation for Memorial Day, on Sunday, May 22 with a memorial service followed by the return of the Memorial Day Parade later in the afternoon.
The Memorial Day service was held at the New Windsor Veterans Memorial, located at the corner of New York State Route 9W and 94 in New Windsor. New Windsor Recreation Director Matthew Veronesi welcomed those gathered and introduced guests present.
In attendance for the ceremony were New Windsor Town Supervisor George Meyers, Town Board members Eve Lincoln, Sylvia Santiago, Steve Moreau and Stephen Bedetti. Town Clerk Kelly Allegra, Orange County Legislator Joseph Minuta, Police Chief Robert Doss, New Windsor Ambulance Corp Chief Michael Bigg and Sgt. Major Mary Kay Messenger from the West Point Band. Members of American Legion Post 1796, the New Windsor Police Department [NWPD], the Newburgh Free Academy Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps [JROTC] and United States Marine Corps members were also present. The ceremony began with the town police, ROTC cadets and Marines who processed and presented the colors.
The first portion of the ceremony was the presentation of the Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Brooks Memorial Award to 60 year resident Patricia Mullarkey for her dedication and service to her community. This award was created in remembrance and honor of Lt. Commander Brooks who was a resident of the town and classmate of the former Town Supervisor George Green.
Mullarkey is currently a 55-year member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and a trustee of the National Temple Hill Association. She has served a Eucharistic Minister for St. Joseph’s Parish and also served as a member and past president of the parish council. She worked on state, county and local campaign committees and also worked with State Senator William Larkin prior to his passing.
Mullarkey was also a member of the town board when she was first elected in 1998 and founded New Windsor Community Day alongside former Councilwoman Sue Weyant. She also served as Deputy Supervisor for 24 years and town liaison to the Newburgh Enlarged City School District.
Other accolades and accomplishments for Mullarkey include the Greater Newburgh Celebration, member of the County’s Kowawese Park Development Committee, former chair of the 250 year Founders Day Celebration for New Windsor, former chair of the 911 Remembrance Memorial event and recipient of the First Women of Distinction and Ring the Bell award.
Today Mullarkey is the proud mother of four sons, nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.“I do realize how special this award is. I am very honored to receive it and on behalf of all those who do so much for the Town of New Windsor, I accept this great honor,” Mullarkey said.
Following Mullarkey was guest speaker Richard Lay, a Vietnam veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps and returning home, served in the New York Police Department until his retirement in 1983. Lay shared words of remembrance for those who could not be here with them today to celebrate and to always remember the sacrifice of those who had gone before.
Following Lay’s words, Veronesi called up New Windsor American Legion Post 1796, Catholic War Veterans Joseph R. Farina Memorial Post 386, Sons of the American Legion Post 1796, American Legion Auxiliary Post 1996, New Windsor Police Department, New Windsor Ambulance Corp, Town of New Windsor Employees and Officials, Vails Gate Fire Department, New Windsor Fire Department, NFA Junior ROTC, New Windsor Girl Scouts, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and others to present and place a wreath at the memorial. A playing of taps and Amazing Grace with retiring of the colors and a performance of God Bless America by Sgt. Major Messenger concluded the ceremony.
After two years due to COVID, residents, town staff and resident veterans came out to enjoy the return of the Memorial Day Parade. Jennifer Veiga, Service Unit Manager for the New Windsor Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Troop 510 Troop Leader, shared she was happy to be here and partake in the parade.
“It’s absolutely awesome and there’s no better way to celebrate the people of this town than to come out and show them our support,” said Veiga. “I think everybody in all of these groups are excited to get back out to everybody.”
Lisa McCaw of Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church shared her thoughts heading into Memorial Day and was excited to be a part of the celebration. “Remember those who have fought for our country, keep them in memory cause that could have been us. They fought for our freedom, but also for the Lord Jesus Christ who died for all,” McCaw said.
As the time for the parade soon approached, bands started their playing and floats made their way down the road while candy was thrown out to children sitting on the curbs.
This year’s lineup of the parade included NWPD vehicles and color guard, Grand Marshall Mary Kay Messenger, town officials, Ancient Order of Hibernians band, local boy scout and girl scout troops, Marine Corps color guard, Newburgh Free Academy Marching Band, New Windsor Recreation Department, Catholic War Veterans, Orange County Professional Musicians Band 1 & 2, Vails Gate Fire Department, Newburgh Free Academy Air Force JROTC, New Windsor/Newburgh Little League and girls softball, Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church, Heritage Middle School Marching Band, New Windsor Fire Department, New Windsor Ambulance Corps and New Windsor Highway Department.