2003 Honor a Veteran Archives

HAV - 2003

John E. DiBlasi, US Army Airborne Division

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Vietnam veteran John E. DiBlasi. A ceremony was held on Monday, January 6, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

DiBlasi, a lifelong resident of Albany, graduated from Albany High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Rose. In 1967 DiBlasi enlisted in the United States Army and became a paratrooper. He served from 1969-1970 in Vietnam as a Ranger with the 101st Airborne Division. DiBlasi received the Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor for his gallant service in Vietnam.

DiBlasi spent more than 25 years as a teacher and school administrator, initially working at Vincentian Institute as a teacher and coach and later at Philip Schuyler Elementary School, Albany High School and Public Schools 21 and 19.

DiBlasi was very active in the Albany Archaeological Program and with the Tri-County Council of Vietnam Veterans.

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Kenneth A. Dunbar, US Army

Albany County and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee  commemorated World War II veteran Kenneth A. Dunbar. A ceremony was  held on Monday, February 3, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building recognizing an outstanding African American veteran as part of Albany County’s celebration of African American History Month.

Dunbar was a native of Brooklyn, NY and attended Franklin K. Lane High School. In 1943, he enlisted in the United States Army and served in Japan, the South Pacific and Philippines in a supply company during World War II.

Dunbar worked for the New York City Transit Authority as a bus driver and also managed a taxi business. After retiring, Dunbar was active in the Order of St. Matthew and was the “Right Hand Man” of the Kituwah Cherokee Nation band and the lead man with the Anuki Cherokee band.

Before moving to Albany, Dunbar lived in Vermont and was an honored grandfather and elder of the Sunray Meditation Society. He was a member of the 369th Army Division.

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William Maguire, US Army Medical Officer

Albany County and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee  commemorated World War II veteran Dr. William C. Maguire. A ceremony was held on Monday, March 3, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Maguire was a lifelong resident of Albany and graduated from Christian Brothers Academy, Union College and Albany Medical College. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1941 and served as a medical officer with the Albany Medical Corps in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France and with the 45th division in Germany, including the Battle of the Bulge. Maguire was with the first troops who liberated the Dachau concentration camp and he donated pictures he took to the National Holocaust Museum.

After the war, Maguire operated a private medical practice in Albany for 54 years and also served on the medical staff of Albany Medical Center, the clinical faculty of Albany Medical College and the medical staff of St. Peter’s Hospital, where he was the head of the infectious disease department for many years.

Maguire was a member of the Albany County Board of Health for 38 years and was honored as Physician of the Year in 1992 by St. Peter’s Hospital.

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Joseph Romano Sr., US Army

Albany County and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Joseph V. Romano, Sr. A ceremony was held on Monday, April 7, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Romano was born in Albany in 1915. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 and served as a Master Mechanic with the 197th Engineers in the European Theater.

After the war, Romano worked as an engineer and maintenance technician for the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers in Albany and Washington, D.C. for 30 years, until 1970. He then went on to be a supervisor in the accounting department of George A. Fuller Consultants of Empire State Plaza until 1977 and then served as deputy director of Civil Defense for Albany County.

Romano was a member of the Sheehy-Palmer VFW Post #6776, the Nathaniel Blanchard Post #1040 and the Albany Elks Lodge BPOE #49 and was a lifelong communicant of St. James Church.

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Joseph F. Duclos Sr., US Marine Corps

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee  commemorated World War II and Korean War veteran Joseph F. Duclos, Sr. A ceremony was held on Monday, May 5, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Duclos, a native of Albany, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1940 and served with the 1st Division in the South Pacific until his discharge in 1945. He saw combat at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, New Guineá and Peleliu Island and helped to install communication systems in Japan several weeks after the bombing of Nagasaki in August of 1945. Duclos served an additional year in the Marine Corps during the Korean War.

Duclos was a member of the Ironworkers Local Union No. 12 for over 50 years and worked for many years as a foreman. He later worked for Albany County Family Court for 10 years until his retirement.

Duclos was a member of the William Dale O’Brien detachment of the Marine Corps League and a member and past commander of the North Albany American Legion Post #1610. 

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William J. Keeler, US Marine Corps

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee  commemorated World War II and Korean War veteran William J. Keeler. A ceremony was held on Monday, June 2, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Keeler, a lifelong resident of Cohoes, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1943. He arrived at the Pacific Island of Palau in 1944 and served as a heavy gun crewman in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre, including Peleliu and Leyte and was discharged in 1946. Keeler then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves in 1950 and served in the Chosin Reservoir battles in the Korean War sustaining serious injuries. He received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and Presidential Unit Citation for the 1st Marine Division for extraordinary heroism against enemy forces in sub-zero temperatures.

Keeler was discharged in 1952, completed his GED in 1954 and was employed at the Watervliet Arsenal. He was a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Northeastern New York Association of the Chosin Few.

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James C. Farrell, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee  commemorated World War II veteran James C. Farrell. A ceremony was held on Monday, July 7, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Farrell, a native of Albany, enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 and served during World War II until his discharge in 1946. He served as a medical technician in a field hospital in England during the war.

Farrell was a longtime employee of the United State Postal Service and was very active in the veteran community. He was a member of the Sheehy-Palmer Post VFW Post and the Zaloga American Legion Post, a member and past Commander of the Beverwyck American Legion Post #1756, past Commander of the Albany County American Legion, past Master at Arms of the New York State American Legion and served as the Albany County American Legion Membership Chairman for many years.

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John J. Reilly, Jr., US Navy

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee  commemorated World War II veteran John J. Reilly, Jr. A ceremony was held on Monday, August 4, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Reilly, a native of Albany, enlisted in the Navy after graduating from the Vincentian Institute in 1943. He completed his basic training and advanced radio school in Bainbridge, Maryland. Buss served as a radioman on the U.S.S. Arcturus, which participated in the invasion of Southern France in 1944 and the invasion of Okinawa in 1945.

Reilly was discharged in 1946 and graduated from Russell Sage College in 1956. He was employed in the insurance industry for 25 years and then worked in the New York State Education Department as a senior investigator with the Office of Professional Discipline until his retirement in 1987.

He was a member and former adjuant of the Fort Orange Post, a member of the Albany Elks Club and the Knights of Columbus, a 40-year member of the Johnny Evers Golf League, a longtime Little League volunteer and a lifetime communicant of Blessed Sacrament Church.

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James J. Delfino, Jr., US Navy

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran James J. Delfino, Jr. A ceremony was held on Tuesday, September 2, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Delfino lived almost his whole life in Watervliet and graduated from St. Brigid’s Academy and Albany Business College. He served in the United States Navy from 1943-1946 as a gunners mate aboard the USS Baxter during World War II, receiving the Philippine Liberation Two Stars, the Asiatic Pacific Three Stars, American Theatre Victory Medal and a citation from President Harry Truman.

Delfino was employed at the Watervliet Arsenal from 1941-1943 and owned Jim’s Barber Shop in the Port Schuyler section of Watervliet from 1946-2002. He was a longtime barber at the Albany County jail. Delfino was very active in the veteran community and held many leadership positions, including commander of the Thomas B. Flynn Jr. American Legion Post #1035 from 1954-55, house chairman of the American Legion Post #1035, Albany County American Legion commander from 1982-83 and a delegate for the Albany County American Legion Convention for over 25 years and a national delegate for 10 years. He was also an honorary member of the Knights of Columbus, the Watervliet PBA and Police Department, the NY Sheriff’s Association, the Schuyler Heights Fire Co., a 25-year member of the Watervliet Lodge of Elks #1500, Watervliet VFW Post #729 and a longtime Democratic committeeman for the City of Watervliet.

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Max Privler, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated World War II veteran Max M. Privler. A ceremony was held on Monday, October 6, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Privler, a lifelong resident of Albany, served in the National Guard from 1932 to 1936 and joined the United States Army in 1943, serving with the 157th Infantry, 45th Army Division in Anzio, Italy and the invasion of Southern France, where he was wounded. He received the Purple Heart and Silver Star.

Privler was discharged in 1945 and owned Skipper’s Tavern at 2nd and Ontario Streets in Albany in the late 1940’s and Walt and Mac’s Fish Fry on Delaware Avenue in Albany in the late 1950’s. He then was a routeman for Three Farms Dairy, Normanskill Farm Dairy and retired from Crowley’s Dairy in 1978. After his retirement he worked as a part-time maintenance worker at Bleecker Stadium until 1992.

Privler was an active volunteer and community member and was instrumental in starting the West End Little League in Albany in 1959. He was a member of many veteran and community organizations and served as post commander of the Wm. F. Wigand VFW Post from 1978 to 1979 and commander of the Albany County Council VFW from 1983-1984. Privler was a life member of the Disabled American Vets, Guilderland Elks Lodge and the American Legion Post 1040 and was a volunteer at the Stratton VA Medical Center.

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Donald Cunningham, US Marine Corps

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Korean War veteran Donald Cunningham. A ceremony was held on Monday, November 3, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Cunningham, a native of Albany and longtime Loudonville resident, was a graduate of Vincentian Institute. He served in the Marine Corps from 1950 to 1952 during the Korean War. Cunningham was stationed on the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard from May 1951 to November 1951, serving in the strikes against North Korean and Chinese Communist forces. He also was a member of the Marine Corps Reserves from 1955 to 1959.

Cunningham was a compositor with Clarity Publishing until his retirement in 1990. He was active in the veteran community as a member of the Captain William Dale O’Brien Detachment Marine Corps League, the Colonie VFW Post #8692, the AM Vets Albany Post #50, the N.E. Chapter Korean War Veterans Association, the Tri-County Council of Vietnam Veterans and the Military Order of Devil Dogs. He was also a member of the Colonie Elks Lodge, the International Typographical Union and the Communications Workers of America and a communicant of St. Pius X Church.

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Mike Burns, US Army

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin and the Honor-A-Veteran Committee commemorated Vietnam War veteran Michael L. Burns. A ceremony was held on Monday, December 1, 2003, in the Cahill Room of the Albany County Office Building.

Michael L. Burns, a lifelong resident of Albany, graduated from Christian Brothers Academy and attended Ricker College in Maine before entering the United States Army in 1966. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam during the height of hostilities in 1967-68.

Burns was an ironworker for more than 35 years and was a dedicated leader in the Ironworkers Local No. 12, holding the positions of president, vice president, business manager, coordinator of the apprentice training program and trustee of the Ironworkers Health and Welfare and Pension Plans. His leadership in the labor movement was recognized throughout his career. He was the recipient of the Capital District Union Labor Award in 2002 and the Capital District Labor Parade, which he was instrumental in creating, is now dedicated to and named in his honor.

Burns was a prominent political leader, who worked for years behind the scenes at the grassroot level before becoming chairman of the Town of New Scotland Democratic Committee and later vice chairman and chairman of the Albany County Democratic Committee. He also was very active in many community service organizations, including as a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 3394 Latham, the American Legion Post No. 1493, the New York State Military Heritage Institute, the N.Y.P.D. Lieutenants Benevolent Association, St. Matthews Men’s Association and as coach of its C.Y.O. basketball team.

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