Tioga County celebrates Veterans Day

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OWEGO, NY – Veterans in Tioga County returned to holding an in-person Veterans Day ceremony this year with an event aimed at welcoming home military members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The program, organized by VFW Veterans Day Chair Jim Raftis, took place inside the Glenn A Warner Post 1371 in Owego.

In an effort to recognize veterans of modern warfare, Justin Donnelly of Nichols and Danielle Ingram of Candor shared their story.

Donnelly was a medic in Iraq in 2008 when a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives into his outpost.

He suffered shrapnel wounds to both of his legs and still has a limp from the injury.

Ingram was his nurse on the medical flight bringing him back to the United States.

However, they didn’t realize their hometown connection at the time, only discovering it recently.

Donnelly says he feels fortunate to have survived and returned to a supportive community.

“I came back to a loving family. I came back to a loving community. Tioga loves their veterans and that’s one of the reasons why I love living here is because of that. That’s why I’m here. If Jim Raftis sends you an email asking you to show up, you show up,” says Donnelly.

The cermony featured a number of speakers plus the post’s honor guard presented the colors, the Owego Free Academy Choir sang patriotic songs and the names were read of Tioga County residents who died in wars going back to World War 2.

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