News of Otsego County

American Legion

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Senior Social & Trivia Night 09-15-21

Senior Social & Trivia Night


SENIOR SOCIAL – 1 p.m. Otsego County Seniors (and a guest) are invited to test out their trivia on the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Bring a team or we will make one for you. Prizes awarded for each round. Donuts and cider will be provided. Presented by the Otsego County Office for the Aging. American Legion Pavilion, Willow St., Otego. 607-432-3279 or visit

BLOOD DRIVE – Noon – 5 p.m. Quality Inn, 5206 St. Hwy. 23, Oneonta. 1-800-733-2767 or visit

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Memorial Motorcycle Ride with the American Legion 09-11-21

Memorial Motorcycle Ride
with the American Legion


LEGACY RIDE – 9:45 a.m. Raise money for scholarships for the children of post-9/11 veterans. Join the American Legion Post 259 and the Red Knights chapter 44 for this memorial motorcycle ride marking 20 years since that fateful day. Cost $20/participant, kickstand up at 11 a.m. Begins at The American Legion, 279 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-0494 or visit

BLOOD DRIVE – 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Main Street Baptist Church Briggs Hall, 333 Main St., Oneonta. 1-800-733-2767 or visit

Veterans retire tattered flags during ceremony
Jay Deitchman from Scout BSA Troop 168 puts tattered flags in the fire during an official retirement ceremony Saturday, July 3, in the town of Otsego. (Kevin Limiti/

Veterans retire tattered flags during ceremony

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

OTSEGO — As part of a way of respectfully destroying old flags that are no longer serviceable, veterans from the local Cooperstown VFW and American Legion held a ceremony at the Cooperstown Sportsmen’s Association just north of Cooperstown on Saturday, July 3, where they burned more than 1,600 flags,.

VFW Commander Floyd Bourne and American Legion Commander Bob Crawford led the ceremony which was followed by a gun salute and the playing of Taps on the bugle.

Bourne said the burning of the flags was a way to “consecrate to ashes” and although flag burning has a negative connotation, this is actually the correct way to dispose of flags, according to the United States Flag Code.

“We shall retire them with the respect they deserve,” Crawford said.

“We thank God for this country and our flag and for the liberty for which it stands,” Bourne said.

Jay Deitchman and his son Jonathan Deitchman, from Scout BSA Troop 168 in Worcester, came to help with the flag retirement. Deitchman said the retirement of the flags was something that was important to them. They said that normally they would’ve done this earlier during a scout camp, but because of COVID it got pushed back.

“It’s very important and it’s an honor to be a part of it,” Deitchman said. “It’s something most people don’t know about. A lot of people just toss them when they get old. It’s something that means a lot to us.”

Normally, flags are retired on Flag Day but because of COVID restrictions, the ceremony was pushed back. Bourne said the ceremony was also abridged because of the pandemic restrictions being in place when the ceremony was being planned.

Veterans stand at attention while unserviceable flags are put in barrels for burning. (Kevin Limiti/
Oneonta’s Memorial Day Parade honors vets despite cold weather
Michael Woytach, an Iraq War veteran, plays the bagpipes during ceremony at Neahwa Park. (Kevin Limiti/

Memorial Day Parade
honors vets despite cold weather

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Oneonta’s American Legion marches on Market Street towards Main Street. (Kevin Limiti/

ONEONTA – Despite the occasional rain and cold weather, hundreds came out for the Memorial Day parade and a wreath laying ceremony Monday, May 31, in Neahwa Park  to honor the country’s veterans who died in service.

Participants in the parade included the Oneonta Fire Department, the Oneonta PD, the American Legion, the Rotary Club, the Boy Scouts and the VFW.

Fred Hicken, grand marshall and WWII veteran, rides in Monday’s parade. (Kevin Limiti/

Fred Hicken, a WWII veteran, was the grand marshal of the parade.

The parade started on Market Street, adjacent to the Foothills Performing Art Center. It proceeded on Main Street and ended at the veteran’s memorial plaques in the park. 

Mayor Gary Herzig gave a personal thank you to the veterans present at Neahwa Park.

“I had family members who lost their lives in the concentration camps,” Herzig said. 

Herzig said that Memorial Day was important to “take the time to remember those who fought and particularly those who didn’t come home,” Herzig said. “Their sacrifice and their families’ sacrifice was also our entire communities’ sacrifice … We can only dream of what we could’ve been if we hadn’t lost those who didn’t come home. It’s a true loss not only for them and their families but all of us.”

Mayor Gary Herzig waves to spectators as he walks along Main Street. (Kevin Limiti/

During the ceremony at Neahwa Park, there was a short invocation to begin the ceremony that said a prayer for stopping the rain and allowing them to honor veterans.  The Gettysburg Address was read, along with Gen. John Logan’s orders, which first designated Memorial Day as a time of honoring veterans.

Scouts BSA of Oneonta placed about 3,600 flags across the community. 

The ceremony ended with a 21 gun salute and the bagpipes of Michael Woytach, an Iraq War veteran who is part of the VFW in Oneonta.

World War II veterans and VFW members salute during the ceremony at Neahwa Park. (Kevin Limiti/

“It’s just to pay my homage for those who can’t be here with us today,” Woytach said.

Herzig summed up the day with his closing remarks.

“It’s a sad day and also a proud day,” Herzig said.


Veterans Honor Fallen Undamped By Storm


Unbowed By Storm,

Veterans Honor Fallen

“We ask for peace in our time.” says George Sluti, left, as he leads the invocation at American Legion Post 279 earlier this afternoon. Morning rain moved the annual event, normally held in Neahwa Park, indoors at the Legion where Commander Terry Harkenreader led the ceremony, with guest remarks from Mayor Gary Herzig.
Following, attendees and their families enjoyed a hot lunch of roast beef sandwiches, ziti, beans, pizza and cake. (Ian Austin/
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Fall Foliage Run To Support Relay For Life 10-10-20

Fall Foliage Run To

Support Relay For Life


RELAY FOR LIFE – 11 a.m. Join Fall Foliage Run with the American Legion Riders in memory of Robin Enck, Rider & Army Veteran who lost his life to cancer this year. Ride to support American Cancer Society in the search for a cure. Registration begins 9:45 a.m. Cost, $15/participant. American Legions, 279 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-0494 or visit

Legion Legacy Run Adapts To Social Distancing

Legion Legacy Run Adapts

To Social Distancing Rules

Rob Martinez, American Legion Riders director, and Assistant Director Chris Chase have made it their mission to make the ride substance-free in recent years.  But  they wanted to make sure today’s ride was COVID-free as well. Before the start of this year’s 18th Legacy Run, Chase created a blog post on the Legion Riders website promoting safe practices for all riders.  Riders, like Nathan Epps, Gloversville, top photos wore masks and had their temperatures checked by Devin Chase, Oneonta. “The Legacy Run is a scholarship to benefit children of soldiers and veterans who have passed away or have become disabled since 9/11,” explained Martinez, seen in image on right. “This year we’re doing it a little different,” added Chase. “Instead of giving all the proceeds to the national Legacy fund, we will be splitting it with our own fund. Last year no children from New York received any support, so with the money we keep we will make sure half of it goes to our local kids.”  some will also go to businesses who contributed to the Legion Riders over the years.  “We know some of them are struggling and this is a way for us to give back and thank them for their support,” Chase said. (Ian Austin/

Joseph K. Brennan, 85; Navy Veteran Joined Worcester Legion

IN MEMORIAM: Joseph K. Brennan, 85;

Navy Veteran Joined Worcester Legion

WORCESTER – Joseph K. Brennan, 85, passed June 30, 2020 at Albany Medical Center after a short illness.

Joseph was born March 26, 1935, in The Bronx, the son of Mae McLoughlin and Joseph Brennan.

He served in the Navy from 1952 to 1960, his most significant assignment being on the USS Lowry DD-770. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Medal, UN Medal and China Service Medal.

Legion Honors Fallen… From a Distance


Legion Honors Fallen

– From Safe Distance

There was no parade, and the crowds that usually cluster around the Memorial Walkway in Oneonta’s Neahwa Park were noticeably absent during the annual Memorial Day Celebration this morning. Above, Master of Ceremonies Les Grummons salutes as “Taps” is played for attendees, who brought wreathes and listened to a short speech from Mayor Gary Herzig. Following the ceremony, some members of the legion stopped by the home of John Forman, left, to salute him alongside fellow WWII veteran Fred Hicken. Returning to Legion Post 259, the veterans were surprised with complementary lunches from Brooks’ BBQ, courtesy of The Porch Fairies, anonymous donors who wanted to make sure veterans were honored. In addition to lunch, the Porch Fairies also dropped off gift cards for groceries for any veteran in need. (Ian Austin/

Scouts & Legion Work Together To Honor Local Fallen Vets

Small Ceremony Planned May 25

Scouts, Legion Collaborate

On Decorating Vets’ Graves

In preparation for Memorial Day, Boy Scout Bradley Morell, Oneonta, places a flag on veterans’ graves at Plains Cemetery this morning. The American Legion, which supplied nearly 5,000 flags,  worked with Troop 23 in placing the flags in Plains, Mount Calvary and Glenwood cemeteries. “Originally, members of the Legion placed all the flags.” explained Scout Leader Dave Morell, “But about 10 years ago the Boy Scouts got involved to help.” “We would be totally lost without their help.” commented Post Commander Terry Harkenreader. The Legion is currently planning a condensed Memorial Day service on the 25th. “We will keep it small and require people involved to adhere to social distancing.” said Harkenreader. (Ian Austin/

Holiday Market Kick-Off Event


ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Visit to learn how.

HOLIDAY KICK-OFF – 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Enjoy historic village, holiday spirit. Includes Shoppers Rally & Raffle, artisan demos, ornament making, refreshments, tree lighting, more. Many shops participating. 192 Main St., Sharon Springs. Visit


Motorcyclists Ride To Support

American Legion Legacy Fund


LEGACY RUN – 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Motorcycle ride to support American Legion Legacy Fund supporting children of deceased veterans through their higher education. Includes stops in Delhi, Margaretsville, Downsville, Walton. After the run enjoy music, food, Chinese auction, more. American Legion, 279 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-0494 or visit

Legion Honors Families With Blue Star Ceremony

Legion Honors 6 Families

With Blue Star Ceremony

Legion Commander Terry Harkenreader and Wayne Gregory, above, present a Blue Star flag to Roxanne Condon, Oneonta, in honor of her son Leaf Ericson, who is serving as a foreman in the Navy, as part of the Blue Star Ceremony.  Six area families were honored this evening at Oneonta’s American Legion Post 259. Originally started in 1917, the Blue Star Ceremony presents families with children serving in a branch of the military with an honorary flag to hang in their window. The tradition fell out of fashion during the Vietnam era, but has been regaining in popularity in recent years. This is the first time the Oneonta Legion has taken part in the ceremony. Inset at right, Ericka Ericson, Kim Lindberg and Lois Proctor listen as Gregory reads the history of the Blue Star flag. (Ian Austin/

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103