Veterans Honored at Home Base
Sayville Baseball Held Sixth Annual Honor Presentation for Military Service Personnel and Veterans
For the sixth consecutive year, Sayville Baseball held its Annual SUPPORT OUR TROOPS DAY in a brief ceremony honoring veterans, along with current servicemen and women, which preceded the home game on the baseball field (aka “The Swamp”).
Admiring the qualities of character, honor, integrity, and loyalty demonstrated by active and former military personnel, like his father, Sayville Baseball Coach Ryan Cox began this tribute to honor the commitment they have shown, to say thank you for their great service and sacrifice, and to instill these values in his players.
This year's ceremony began with the Color Guard from VWF Post 433, Rick Erdmann, Gary Gentile and Andy Henning, marching onto the field, while the invited veterans, Coach Ryan, assistant coaches Chris Clehane, Eric Cox, and Peter Blumenauer, and the Sayville Baseball team stood in respectful silence for the National Anthem on the third baseline. After, Sayville High School student Sean Barry played military themes on the bagpipes.
As part of this time-honored tradition this year, special recognition was given to Mr. Paul Simonsen, student assistance counselor at Sayville Middle School for the past 25 years.
“We, as Americans, are grateful to our military personnel who are presently serving our country,” Physical Education Teacher Jen Wittman-Cahill read the prepared announcement broadcasted across the field as part of the Support Our Troops ceremony. “…and to our Veterans who have paved the way with their service.” This was followed by a history* of Mr. Simonsen’s military background. After as part of the yearly tradition, retired Staff Sargent Simonsen threw the first pitch.
* “Staff Sergeant Simonsen served in the Army Reserve from 1981 to 1989 and was a squad leader for his Basic Training unit at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was attached to the 344th General Hospital out of Fort Totten, Queens N.Y. after his MOS training at the Academy of Health Sciences Fort Sam -Houston Texas. His specific training was as a medic and counselor. Staff Sergeant Simonsen also did training at Nassau Medical Center, and Sargent's school at Indian Town Gap Pennsylvania. His duties included providing First Aid Training, MOS testing, and Safety NCO for his unit during his last two years. He retired from the Army as a Staff Sargent. He credits the Military for helping him go back to school for his Master’s degree as part of the Aces program under President Reagan. Staff Sergeant Simonsen has been married 25 years to his wife Janette and he has two great kids Bridget and Troy, ages 21 and 17.”