Day 15 – Albany, New York

June 21, 2010

Left 5am from our incredible visit with the Grays. Four hour drive to Albany NY, where we had a scheduled meeting with Bil Kraus, exec dep director of NY veteran affairs, John Egan, commissioner and Jim Huelle, direc of government affairs. The meeting was very positive and I received the full support from these offices in New York. From there Mr Kraus was able to arrange a meeting with state senator Eric Adams. Gold Star father Moe Fletcher from Long Island was able to arrange a meeting with his state senator Skelos, and I had already made previous contact with senator Golden. I was unable to reach the governor this visit due to the last minute negotiations on the NY state budget, however I was able to have a brief meeting with senator Leibell, veterans committee chair, who has agreed to introduce Honor and Remember legislation in New York. Also while in the city I was able to arrange an interview on channel 10 Albany news I have no idea if a story ran, but it was recorded.

During the morning we were taken on a tour of all of the incredible war memorials built around the state capital. Albany has taken much effort in honoring the many veterans who have served and the memory of all that has been sacrificed through each war. Please when you get a chance visit these monuments with the reverence and respect they were intended for.

Back in the car and on the way to Camden, another 2 1/2 hours to meet up with Donna and Rene Parker. On the way I was able to meet up with Chris Belona, mother to Jon who started the Run for the Fallen movement. Chris passed to us a couple of flags we would be presenting and some goodies for the trip. What a super lady! Arriving in Camden, Donna had arranged a beautiful ceremony Monday evening at the Eli Parker community center, named after her son. The event was an opportunity to meet with many Gold Star families, community leaders, veteran organizations and town citizens. I was able to share our mission and was very warmly received. It is so difficult to express the depth of the emotion that I feel and also that I receive when I speak to so many who are so supportive. Person after person representing so many aspects of New York, expressed support and an eagerness to share our vision. Senate staff, Delegates, post commanders, city officials, gold star families and patriotic citizens.  This message is catching on, and I continue to be strengthened as I meet some of the best folks in this land.

Last night I visited at length with the wonderful Gold star families in this area of New York, It is amazing to be able to share stories and to hear such passion and love from other parent. I continue to be humbled to be a voice for these precious families. Exhausted now, time to sleep.

Tomorrow: Syracuse, Rochester and beyond.

Needs: We are looking for possible accommodations in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh or Plymouth meeting areas of PA.

Blessings, George