County Executive Also Creates Veteran’s Advisory Committee
Kingston, N.Y—Ulster County Executive Mike Hein was joined by Ulster County veterans, community leaders and public officials as he shared his Administration’s plans for the “Patriots Project: Transitional Veterans’ Housing.” As he explained, construction is anticipated to begin this summer with the goal of beginning service delivery at the Wurts Avenue home by the end of the year. The County Executive also announced the formation of his Veterans Advisory Committee and appointed Deputy County Executive and Iraq War veteran J.J. Hanson to lead the newly formed committee.
“The Patriots Project is really all about honor, respect and compassion, and it is about solving a national problem at the local level,” said Ulster County Executive Hein. “Ulster County’s Veterans have sacrificed much in order to protect our freedoms and liberty. Most recently, many young men and women have returned from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and some have had great difficulty adapting to civilian life. We owe our Veterans a tremendous debt of gratitude for their service and the Patriots Project will afford Ulster County the ability to provide them the level of service they deserve.”
New York State Senator Bill Larkin said, “It was a privilege to sponsor the legislation that made the Patriots Project a reality. I can think of no group more deserving of our support and I look forward to the opening of this important facility that will assist our local Veterans for many years to come.”
Ulster County Legislator Jeanette Provenzano said, “This issue is very near and dear to my heart having two brothers that served in the United States Navy in WWII and one brother that gave his life fighting for our country in the Korean War. There could never be enough done for our veterans and I am glad that the County Executive has recognized this growing need.”
“It is an honor to lead the County Executive’s Veterans Advisory Committee,” said Deputy County Executive J.J Hanson. “Our first mission is to ensure that the County Executive’s vision for a transitional residence for veterans in need becomes a reality. County Executive Hein’s Patriot Project is an important first step in ensuring that no veteran in Ulster County is ever left without the services they earned.”
Ulster County Director of Veterans Services and United States Naval Captain Steve Masse said, “The transition from military life to civilian life can sometimes be difficult. A single location where our Veterans can live with their peers and have direct access to services is a tremendous asset for our Veterans. On behalf on all Ulster County Veterans I commend the County Executive for his leadership on this issue. Veteran homelessness in Ulster County is not always visible, but it exists and this initiative will help reach them.”
“City of Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo supports the Patriots Project and all of the County Executive’s efforts to help those Veterans in need of services,” said Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo.
The total project is estimated to cost $330,000 to fully rehabilitate the building into a state of the art facility. Currently the County has approximately $150,000 from the sale of the SUNY Ulster President’s Home and is receiving donations from both private and community partners.
At the event, County Executive Hein received an $11,000 check from Bob Siracusano, owner of Sawyer Motors in Saugerties. The donations were proceeds from the annual Saugerties car show held over the July 4th weekend.
Mr. Siracusano said, “It is an honor to make this donation from the proceeds of this year’s car show to such a worthwhile cause. I lost close friends as a result of the Vietnam War and I have seen first hand why it so important that our veterans have the necessary support when they return home.”
United Way of Ulster County has offered to facilitate the fundraising campaign to cover the project’s expenses.
“The United Way is so pleased to be able to play a role in such a worthy endeavor,” said Stacey Rein, President of the United Way of Ulster County. “The transition for our veterans should be as seamless as possible, and this project goes a long way towards doing just that. Hats off to the County Executive for making it a reality.”
“We have been overwhelmed by the level of community support,” said County Executive Hein. “I want to thank Stacey Rein and the United Way for agreeing to coordinate financial donations to the Patriots Project. I would also like to say a special thank you to businessman and Veteran Bob Siracusano of Sawyer Motors for dedicating the proceeds from the Sawyer Car Show, and to the Bruderhof community for agreeing to fund necessary roof repairs. For those who want to donate money, please call the United Way at 331-4199 and for those who want to dedicate their time, please call Captain Steven Massee at the Ulster County Veterans’ Services Agency at 340-3190.”
The 67 Wurts Street location is in close proximity to other government services, amenities, and public transportation. The property was previously used by Ulster-Greene ARC. It was removed from the tax rolls at that time and stands directly across from Thomas Cornell Park, which is home to an existing Veterans’ Memorial. In the 2012 State of the County Address, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein proposed to turn the former group home into transitional housing for veterans in need.
Last year, a law was approved by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Cuomo authorizing the Commissioner of the Office of General Services to transfer the New York State-owned home at 67 Wurts Street in Kingston, NY to Ulster County for the purposes of providing transitional housing and other related support services to our County’s veterans following submission of an application by Ulster County. The cost to transfer the home to Ulster County is $1.