Ulster County Executive Mike Hein Is Joined By Veterans, Elected Officials And Community Members To Open And Dedicate The Ulster County Patriots Project

Posted July 2, 2014

The Patriots Project Is Now A Reality Thanks To The Overwhelming Support Of The Community

Kingston, NY – County Executive Mike Hein cut a red, white and blue ribbon today at the steps of 67 Wurts Street in Kingston, signaling the opening of the Ulster County Patriots Project which will provide transitional housing for homeless Veterans.  The ceremony included the unveiling of a dedication which recognizes and thanks the more than 140 individuals, groups and businesses that made donations toward the project, as well as others who helped make this project a success.  After the County Executive cut the ribbon with assistance from the Ulster County American Legion Commander Ira Weiner, the public was invited to tour the home.  The County Executive was joined by several elected officials, including U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson, NYS Senator William Larkin, NYS Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, Mayor Shayne Gallo, Legislator Jeanette Provenzano, as well as the Executive’s Veterans Advisory Board, local Veterans, including multiple American Legion and VFW Posts, and members of the Community. 

“It is so moving to see the Patriots Project come to fruition, knowing that it will soon be providing housing for local Veterans in need as well as access to the essential services they so justly deserve,” said County Executive Hein.  “We are so pleased that our partnership with Soldier On will allow for the continuum of care for the Veterans residing in the house, providing an environment that offers dignity, honor and hope.  All of our Veterans have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and liberty and I am honored to have initiated such a worthy and important project designed to help.  The people of Ulster County are deeply patriotic, and as we honor all who have served, let this home stand as a constant reminder that our veterans deserve much more than we can ever repay.  I want to thank all those who participated in making this special project a reality, including my Veterans Advisory Committee, Ulster County’s Veterans Services Agency, SUNY Ulster, the Ulster County Department of Public Works for their amazing renovations to the house, the United Way, the Bruderhof, Colleen Mountford and the Rotarians and all of the elected officials, including Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, NYS Senator Larkin for spearheading legislation to transfer the house, the Ulster County Legislature, Mayor Gallo, local Veterans, and the community who participated in turning this historic but severely deteriorated house into a warm and inviting home for our local Veterans. I continue to be amazed at the outpouring of support and efforts made by the countless local businesses and service organizations, church communities and individuals which helped to make this extraordinary project possible.” 

County Executive Hein continued, “We owe a great deal of gratitude to all of our Veterans for their service to our Country.  The Patriots Project is just one way to honor our local heroes.  Homelessness among our Veterans is a national tragedy which we are addressing at the local level with honor, respect and compassion,” said County Executive Hein.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“Our brave service members and Veterans have made incredible sacrifices protecting our freedom, and it is our duty to make sure our men and women have every opportunity to succeed,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator Gillibrand had a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol to be presented at the opening of the Patriots Project home. “We must ensure that the men and women of our military who risk their lives to protect our county  receive the care they earned and deserve, including a home, quality health care, and community support. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein has brought together community partners to show our service members and Veterans that support.”

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

“Too many of our Veterans who have proudly served this country are fighting a battle they never expected: homelessness. That’s why I am so pleased that the Patriot’s Project is opening today, to provide transitional housing for local Veterans and essential services to get them back on the right path. The Patriot’s Project is an excellent resource in our effort to end the indignity of Veteran homelessness, so I applaud County Executive Hein, local Veterans groups, and everyone involved in the Patriots Project for working together to make Veteran homelessness in Ulster County a thing of the past.”

U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19)

“As a Veteran and strong supporter of Veterans programming, I am delighted to help celebrate the opening of the Ulster County Patriots Project in Kingston,” said U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19). “This residence will be a safe, supportive environment for homeless Veterans working through challenging times. I want to thank Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and the many county personnel and volunteers who have shared so generously of their time and talents to make this project possible.”

N.Y.S Senator William Larkin

"There is no more rewarding work than providing assistance to Veterans who have sacrificed for our country,” said N.Y.S. Senator William Larkin.  “Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, his staff and all involved should be commended for their commitment to assisting those Veterans in need."

N.Y.S. Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk

"There are more than 60,000 homeless American Veterans, and that is something that we simply cannot tolerate,” said N.Y.S. Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk. “The Patriots Project addresses this horrible problem at the local level, right here in Ulster County, and is a model that can and should be put into effect all across our State and Nation. I commend County Executive Hein and everyone involved in making the project a reality."

Ulster County Legislator Jeanette Provenzano

Ulster County Legislator Jeanette Provenzano said,"Thank you to our County Executive, Mike Hein, for having the vision to restore this beautiful house and transform it into a place worthy of our Veterans.  I am especially pleased that my District hosts the Patriots Project and it calls the City of Kingston "home."

Ira Weiner, American Legion Ulster County Commander

“The Ulster County Patriots Project is a remarkable accomplishment and I applaud County Executive Hein and all of those that participated in making this a special home for our Veterans who need assistance,” said Ira Weiner, American Legion Ulster County Commander.  “On behalf of Ulster County’s Veterans, I want to thank County Executive Hein and his staff for their continued support of our Veterans.”

John Nilsen, of American Legion Post 1219, retired Ironworker of Local #417 Newburgh, N.Y.  

“I am proud to have served on the County Executive’s Veterans Advisory Committee and am proud of our volunteers who helped County Executive Mike Hein's vision for the Patriot's Project happen in a timely manner,” said John Nilsen of American Legion Post 1219 and retired Ironworker of Local #417 Newburgh, N.Y.  It is wonderful to see the community come together with so much support for our Veterans.”

Steve Massee, Ulster County Director of Veterans Services, U.S. Navy Captain and Chairman of the Veterans Advisory Committee

“The commitment of the County Executive to this project was steadfast despite formidable obstacles and challenges,” said Steve Massee, Ulster County Director of Veterans Services, U.S. Navy Captain and Chairman of the Veterans Advisory Committee.  “County Veterans who struggle with homelessness now have a sanctuary like no other where they can obtain local support for their situation.  The outpouring of local donations and volunteerism was remarkable and shows that patriotism in our community is vibrant and strong."

John F. Downing, President and CEO of Soldier On

Soldier On has been committed to helping our Veterans reclaim their place in the community for over 20 years, and this local solution is a great model for other counties across the Country," said John F. Downing, President and CEO.   “I want to thank County Executive Hein for his leadership and continued commitment to Veterans.”

Ashley Altieri, 10 year old from Saugerties

“When I heard there was going to be a Veterans home, I wanted to make red, white and blue bracelets and sell them so the Veterans would have a little bit better Christmas,” said Ashley Altieri, Riccardi Elementary Student who raised $400 selling bracelets.  “I feel that we should thank our Veterans for all they have done for our Country.”

It is estimated that over 60,000 Veterans are homeless nationwide, and Ulster County has an estimated 20-40 homeless Veterans at any given time.  In 2012, County Executive Hein announced his initiative to end the tragedy of homelessness within the Veteran’s community and to provide transitional Veterans’ housing with centralized access to essential services.  To that end, the County identified a vacant, State-owned, former group home in Kingston with access to public transportation and worked with Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to have the facility transferred to Ulster County.  In addition, the sale of the SUNY Ulster President’s home along with an extraordinary outpouring of public support helped fund the renovations.

Thereafter, the County Executive formed his Veterans Advisory Committee to help coordinate an extensive renovation project.  The Veterans Advisory Committee members are as follows:  J.J. Hansen, previous Chairman/Deputy County Executive and Iraq War Veteran; Steven Masse, Chairman, Director of Ulster County Veteran Services Agency, A.L. Post 1026 ; Henry Bartosik of VFW Post 1455; Keith Bennett of A.L. Post 150; Karl Conboy of VFW Post 8645; Mike Decker, Ulster Marine Corps League; Wayne Harris, retired Ulster County Legislator; John Hinson of A.L. Post 176; John Nilsen of A.L. Post 1219; Harold Rosenkranse of A.L. Post 1219; Al Teetsel of A.L. Post 150; and Mark Woinoski of A.L. Post 1298.

This past June, the County Executive announced the public/private partnership with Soldier On, a nationally recognized Veterans outreach not-for-profit which will provide 24 hour a day on site management of the Ulster County Patriots Project, including case management services.  Soldier On has professional staffing and case management services which are designed to create a pathway from homelessness to stability.

For more information on the Patriots Project please contact the Ulster County Executive’s Office at 845-340-3800.                                               


Above Photos: Photo (1) – County Executive Mike Hein cutting the ribbon in front of the Patriots Project joined by (from left-front row): NYS Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, Ira Weiner American Legion Ulster County Commander, U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson, NYS Senator William Larkin and others.

Photo (2) - County Executive Mike Hein with Donors at Dedication (from left): Ashely Altieri of Saugerties, SUNY Ulster President Don Katt, Sean Eldridge, Dan Honig of the New York Triathlon Club, Rich Gillette representing the Benedictine Health Foundation, John Nilsen of American Legion Post 1219 and retired Ironworker of Local #417, Colleen Mountford of the Kingston Sunshine Rotary, Bob Siracusano of Sawyer Motors, and Larry Mason of the Bruderhof.

Photo (3) – Photo of Patriots Project Home