Decorated war veteran gets award from Sen. Skoufis for response to devastating storms in Orange County
Sen. James Skoufis inducted a veteran into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Skoufis presented the award to retired Army Col. Christopher Holsehk during a ceremony Wednesday morning at American Legion Post 1796 in New Windsor.
Holsehk ran humanitarian disaster relief efforts around the world as a civil affairs officer.
He received the honor Wednesday due to his efforts coordinating relief for people affected by the July 9 storms in Highland Falls and Fort Montgomery.
"We've got to make sure that we're organized, and the relief can get in as soon as possible," Holshek said of the effort. "Until the rest of everybody else shows up, like the state and the government." Holshek and others from his American Legion post in Harriman organized a network that included local schools, the Chamber of Commerce and other Legion posts. His team on the ground surveyed the community and fed information to the network.
"We were sending out signals saying, 'OK, this is what we're going to need in the next couple of days,'" he said. "Then they went around to local businesses and just people in general and got supplies, and they were brought in in pickup trucks and different things."
Holshek wants the community to honor veterans by "leveraging a veteran" and including them in just about any local emergency response.
"We're good at crisis management. We're good at problem-solving," he said. "We're a real resource, especially in times like that in the community, and that's what I really picked up from my experience that month-and-a-half."
The state Senate website will broadcast a special Veterans Hall of Fame ceremony at 11 a.m. Thursday to honor all 63 of this year's inductees. Each state senator inducts a veteran into the Hall of Fame each year.