NewsChannel 34 "Thank You Veterans"

NewsChannel 34 is thanking local veterans for their service to our country.

We asked you to nominate a friend, family member or co-worker for their contributions in defense of our country.

From those nominations, we selected five veterans to receive a special recognition ceremony that will be broadcast during our 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts the week of November 7th.

In part 1 of our "Thank You Veterans" series, we recognize William Merrell of the Town of Fenton. See that story at the link.

In part 2, we recognize 1SG David E. Youngs. Learn more about his story at this link, and watch the full recognition ceremony held for Youngs at this link.

In part 3, we recognize Bill Fowler. Learn more about his story at this link, and watch the full recognition ceremony held for Fowler at this link.

In part 4, we recognize Joseph Brown. Learn more about his story at this link, and watch the full recognition ceremony held for Brown at this link.

In part 5, we recognize Cyril Polacheck. Learn more about his story at this link, and watch the full recognition ceremony held for Polacheck at this link.

We also featured all the nominations we received below.

Thank You Veterans is sponsored in part by Fidelis Care and The Raymond Corporation.

From: Jennifer Youngs
Nominee: 1SG David Youngs
Nomination: 1SG David Youngs is currently serving his 28th year in our military.  He spent 14 years active duty in the US Navy and has been serving in the 204th Engineering Battalion here in Binghamton, NY.  He served in Iraq in 2010.  He's a true patriot and has committed his life to the service of our country.  I am deeply proud of his service and many sacrifices he has made over the years.  

From: Tracey McNamara
Nominee: David Youngs
Nomination: Dave, my dear cousin's husband, has dedicated 28 years of service and has made many sacrifices along the way.   He is a good man, and an inspiration to many.   I am so grateful to him and to all the men and women who serve our country and keep us safe.

From: Ruth Musuneggi
Nominee: David Youngs
Nomination: Dave has sacrificed so much to serve our country, his time, his 2 sons & wife.  It is a very natural way of life for him & his family to be of service to our country.   He does it with a smile on his face, looking @ service to our country as an honor ¬ just a duty.

From: francine finucan
Nominee: David Youngs
Nomination: Dave has served for 28 years. He deserves to be regonized!

From: Mitch
Nominee: David youngs
Nomination: Outstanding military and family service ive seen everyday of my life. 

From: Vivian Pack
Nominee: Dave Youngs
Nomination:   Dave Youngs is is currently serving his 28th year of military service, one year of which was done in Iraq. Being the true patriot that he is, he has a long list of sacrifices he has made over the years.  I truly feel he is worth of nomination.

From: Suzanne Merrell
Nominee: Bill Merrell
Nomination: My Dad served in the NAVY in 1945-46, I have very proud of my Dad for doing what he did for our country. He was on ships, which I am sure could not be easy living in such close quarters .  My Dad has seen some things there that were not so nice. He was only a young man of like 17-18 He was unable to be there for his  senior year ...the pictures the fun. He felt is was more important to serve our country and for which it stands....  He is a good man today of 89 years young. Although he is disabled now and has problems with his memory he still remembers the days and times he served and even was able to form some good relationships with a bunch of guys in the same boat. He is a loving and good man.  Theres so much more to his story if he is picked he would love to tell you about some of them. This man is very patriotic   and loves his country. And I love him for all he has done...for his family...and his country.  Thanks. 

From: Matthew Gawors
Nominee: Chris Cowden
Nomination: He is one of the loyalist, genuine men in the Binghamton area.  Chris serve in the military and respects veterans in the upmost standards.  

From: Elizabeth Sarkisian
Nominee: Russell Pingrey
Nomination: In addition to serving our country, Russ keeps it local. Russ is involved with his church, his senior center, his Legion and his neighborhood, volunteering countless hours to make his community a better place. 

From: Ben Margolius
NomineeCW3 Joseph E. Brown, US Army (Retired)
Nomination: "CW3 Brown had a distinguished career spanning 29.5 years, retiring in 2006 (101st Airborne 1st BN /501st Infantry, Vietnam, Tet Offensive 1968. Awarded the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB).

His duty assignments include the following:
• Graduated from Basic, Advanced Individual Training, Basic unit Training (4.2 in Mortars), Fort Carson, Co.
• USAR Drill Sergeant – Engineer AIT Fort Leonard Wood, MO - 7 years.
• Engineer Project Officer Emergency Management.
• Logistics Specialist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville, FL.
• US Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District- Hurricane Andrew recovery.
• Maintenance Officer/ Safety Officer Hurricane Andrew – 6 months.
• SOUTHCOM – Panama Canal transition team.
• Special Facility Engineer Contingency Project Officer Contingency, US Southern Command, Fort Clayton, Republic of Panama.
• Overall responsibility for day-to-day operations of five bachelor quarters buildings (45 personnel per building).
• Engineer Project Officer, Emergency Management, US Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville, FL.
• Engineer District, Hurricane Marilyn Charlotte Amelia, U.S.
• Virgin Islands responsible for motor pool operations, generator maintenance, oversight of contracted maintenance services, compound security and supply storage.
• Humanitarian Exercise -Engineer Logistics Support, Task Force San Marcos, Guatemala.
• Maintenance Officer- Southern European Task Force.
• Infantry Brigade- Vicenza, Italy, Brigade Staff Maintenance Officer, 6 months.
• Project Officer for SEMO (NY State Emergency Operations) July 2005 and June 2006 Flood Broome County, Binghamton, NY.   Assisted Municipal Officials and FEMA counter parts to document and verify the scope of flood damage for federal reimbursements.
• FEMA 2011 and 2012 Broome County Floods. Verified each project scope through field trips to each project site. Completed over 40 roads and building repair cost estimates and photos for each project.

He continued to serve his community and Broome County as
• Past Member of the Valley Industrial Employees.
• FCU Binghamton NY, Credit Committee Volunteer.
• US Army MARS affiliate amateur radio station – 5 years
• Senior Technical Writer Universal Instruments Corp.  Binghamton. NY.

In addition , he serves
• The Broome County Office of Aging - GROW program, chauffeuring needy veterans, and handicapped/senior citizens to doctor’s appointments, hospitals, nursing homes, and the Veterans Home Oxford, NY.
• Southern Tier Veterans Support Group as member and project coordinator.
• Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Southern Tier Chapter as Assistant Membership Chairman and Project Officer for Boys and Girls State high school students sponsored by the chapter.

From: Laura Bond
Nominee: 1SG Dave Youngs
Nomination: Dave Youngs has been a friend for over 10 years and a true and fierce patriot for many more. He is currently serving his 28th year of military service, which includes a year in Iraq.  He is a loving husband and a father of two wonderful sons.  His dedication to his family and his country is unwavering.   I am grateful for his friendship, and feel just a little bit safer knowing he is out there in the world protecting us.  He currently leads the 204th engineering battalion in Binghamton, NY.  He is highly deserving of this special recognition!

From: Matt Waskie
Nominee: Cyril Polacheck
Nomination: I would like to nominate a person that I have highly admired from a very young age which is my WW2 veteran grandfather, Cyril Polcheck. Cyril is a ninety year old member of the “greatest generation and suffers from dementia. He cannot remember day to day events any longer but he is still able to recall many memories in a time that had a major impact on his life, which was his time as a Seaman, first class, in the Navy. This story may be a little hard to follow due to my grandfather’s dementia which can make him a bit confused. His memories can become a bit blurred However, thanks to the keen memory and help of his wife and my grandmother, Emily I hope to make his story as accurate as possible.

My grandfather’s adventure began at the age of 17 when he convinced his parents to allow him to enlist before his 18th birthday. His friends were all of age and were signing on to serve their country. He was determined not to be left behind. His father said that he would give permission on one condition, he was not allowed to become a marine. Cyril agreed and enlisted in the Navy.
Cyril said that he was one of the lucky ones.  His first bit of luck came when being assigned to a battleship .Battleship assignments were done by last name and he was unhappy to learn that many of his new friends from basic training were assigned to the battleship the USS Morris. My grandfather just missed being assigned to the Morris simply by where his name fell alphabetically on the list. He was placed instead on the USS Fuller. During the course of the war, the Morris was attacked by a Japanese bomber carrying a torpedo. The explosion heavily damaged the ship and caused a fire which burned for more than two hours. Many of his friends were killed. This is a sadness that stays with him even today.  
Cyril’s luck continued to hold. While on the USS Fuller, besides being on “watch duty”, his first assignment was loading the shells into the 3 inch gun. This was the standard anti-aircraft gun used against airships and bombers. During one of the battles a Japanese pilot on a suicide mission was coming for the ship. My grandfather said that “it was a good thing the gunner had excellent aim” for he shot the plane down before it could crash into the Fuller. When the Fuller wasn’t under attack, Cyril’s other job was to pilot the boat that picked up supplies from the supply ship. My grandfather said he really liked that job and he was pretty good at it. He must have been, because his assignment changed to be the coxswain or driver of a Higgins boat. The Higgins boat was used to carry soldiers into the shore battle grounds during an invasions. Cyril said it was during this time that he came to admire the courage of the marines, who were his passengers. Although being the person bring troops to shore had its own dangers, my grandfather said never had to face hand to hand combat like the soldiers he transported. Cyril said that each person spent those last minutes on their way to the shore differently. Some were silent, some talked, some got teary but most prayed. My grandfather said that “there are no atheists at war time.” When asked about his scariest, yet exciting experience, he reflected that it was during his delivery of the third wave of men at a battle at Guadalcanal, that they experienced being bombarded by the Japanese. He said “you are afraid but you have a job to do and you just do it.”
I know there is much more to his story with many of the details forgotten due to his dementia. It was hard for him to recall as much as he did and he often would become frustrated that he couldn’t remember. But there is one thing that dementia will never take away from him, his strong will and determination to always push forward no matter how difficult the challenge. I will always be proud to be this man’s grandson.

From: Bob Youngs
Nominee: 1st Sargent David Eric Youngs
Nomination: "David joined the Navy 3 weeks after graduation from High School.  Flew Navy Air for almost 14 years and then came to the Vestal Area with a job in civilian life while changing to the Army Guard unit in Binghamton.  He did one tour of Duty in Iraq, away from his family of his wife, Jennifer and his two sons, then in High School.  When he returned from Iraq, the company he worked for had lost several contracts with the Navy and Dave had to look for work, while still maintaining his duties at the Guards.  He works at Lockhead Martin as an Engineer and has traveled the world for work and the military to update several of the military aircraft.  

While at home during the floods a few years ago, David earned several commendations from the Army and the State of New York for his work saving lives with the guards.  He took charge of certain parts of rescue from roof tops during the flooding and got people to safety.
Dave is only a couple years away from having served 30 years and hopefully he will achieve his final rank of Sgt. Major if all goes as hoped for.
On a personal note his wife has been successful with her own business and his two sons have graduated from high school and are now out in the world.  His oldest son, married and works as a tractor trailer driver and his youngest son, is approaching two years in the Army. 
This month he and his wife celebrate 25 years of marriage and will also become grandparents for the first time.
All in all, David has worked full time at both careers and hopefully he'll receive his Bachelors Degree in the Spring of 2017. 
We are proud of David Eric Youngs, our son and his entire family.  They have all sacrificed  with time away in the military and have come through with flying colors.   He is a worth candidate for this honor."

From: Karyn Grant-Kelley
Nominee: William Kelley
Nomination: William Kelley is a 40 year veteran. 20 years Air Force Special Ops and 20 years as a Law Enforcement Professional. In the course of his career he has  sacrificed much of what we take for granted. Like being safe and be able to have a 'normal' family life. He gave up that so the rest of us could have that.  He was the target of 2 ieds. One put him in the infirmary in Germany for 4 months. And yet still he returned to the battle field. He is a highly decorated war hero. One of the most prestigious among many is being awarded the Bronze Star by President Bush for his heroic actions in Desert Storm. He still serves our country as he continues to work for Homeland Security in Customs and Border Patrol. He has never sought recognition for his service because that is not why he did it. He did it because of his love for this country. I think it is time he is recognized in our community even if he doesn't.  

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