Days before the nation celebrated its independence, Hempstead Town presented a number of awards to a group of veterans during the town's annual Salute to Veterans Ceremony at Point Lookout Town Park on June 30. A total of eight veterans were honored, including six 2012 Veterans Medal recipients and two Montford Point Marines who were presented with the town's Trailblazer Award.
The Town of Hempstead's Veterans Medals are awarded to veterans who have dedicated themselves to helping their fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms in their time of need. This year’s 2012 Veterans Medal Winners are:
- Lecia Rodriques-Whyte of Elmont
- Tami Ellinport of Valley Stream
- John Brady of Levittown
- Frank Lowell Neal, Jr. of Hempstead
- Stephen Nicolino of Freeport
- Frank Colon of Rockville Centre
Supervisor Kate Murray also presented the town's Trailblazer Award to Richard Warren of Roosevelt and Vincent Long Sr. of Hempstead for their service as original members of the legendary Montford Point Marines. The Montford Point Marines were the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps, whose heroic efforts in World War II led to the integration of the Marine Corps.
Prior to the ceremony, Murray posthumously honored late veteran Ned Johnson, the past county commander and chaplain of the United Veterans Organization, and an active member of the town's Veterans Committee. On behalf of the late veteran, Johnson's wife and two children accepted a special posthumous Fallen Hero Award.