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Malverne Volunteer Among Veterans Honored by Nassau County

John Devine, a disabled Vietnam vet who volunteers with the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 76, based out of Malverne, is recognized at Eisenhower Park ceremony.

The work of a veteran is never done, especially when it comes to helping other veterans.

On Friday, Nassau County honored those who not only served their country, but served each other, too. There was a concert at featuring the USO Liberty Bells, a 1940's-style singing trio, along with Dean Karahalis and the Concert Pops of Long Island.

The main event of evening was the ceremony to honor the veterans. Among those recognized was John Devine, a veteran who lost his leg while serving in Vietnam, but now devotes his time to helping others like him through the based out of Malverne.

Devine has bowled a perfect game, is an avid skier and has sunk a hole-in-one in golf. And of course, he is active helping other veterans, making regular trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to boost the spirits of those injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Legis. Dennis Dunne, R-Levittown, said the decision for the county to hold a night to honor its local war heroes was a no-brainer.

"[We] said you know what, they have an Italian night, Irish night, German night, Israeli night, [so] why not have a Veterans night? What can we do to make it special?" Dunne said.

To do just that, each year veterans are honored with the Distinguished Service to Veterans Award. The award is not only about what these fine men and women did during times of war, but also what they achieved back home in Nassau County.

"It's for somebody who really put out their heart and soul for veterans in our community," Dunne said.

That also includes Joseph Slattery of Plainview, a Vietnam vet and president of the United Veterans Organization of Nassau. Slattery says when one veteran is honored, they all are, and when one speaks, he speaks for all.

"Over the years I've learned we give back to the community, to our fellow veterans, and we're the advocates for them," Slattery said. "We speak for them. We represent them." 

Slattery and Devine were front and center with all of the veterans being saluted by thousands in attendance. They saluted back...to Nassau County, and to each other.

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