Manlius For town of Manlius assessor Pat Duffy, father of Army Sgt. Matthew Duffy, supporting the troops is about more than being proud of his son.
“It’s just being proud of all the soldiers and the sailors, the marines, the airmen,” said Duffy, who himself is a Cold War era Army veteran. “I think, unfortunately, a lot of people just don’t know what it is that we have in this country in terms of freedom.”
“Anyone who puts on the uniform is, in my opinion, a true hero,” Duffy added.
Duffy is working with an informal committee of town employees on a “Hometown Heroes” initiative, which is being run through the town clerk’s office. The goal is to have families of soldiers serving active duty, overseas or stateside, to submit framed five-by-seven-inch photos of their sons and daughters in uniform. The photos will be displayed prominently on a wall in town hall.
“I’m hoping that people will take pause and take a look at the wall, and take a moment to reflect on just what it is that these young men and women are doing,” Duffy said. “They put just a whole lot on the line.”
Duffy’s son, Matt, 23, is a combat engineer in the Army and is currently stationed at Fort Brag, N.C. He served overseas in Afghanistan for a year from December 2009 to December 2010, returning home just in time for Christmas.
Duffy said soldiers who return from serving overseas are usually kept out of the rotation for a year.
“After that, all bets are off,” he said. “And even then, there’s no guarantees that they’ll be stateside for a year.”
Town Clerk Allison Edsall is heading up the Hometown Heroes initiative. She said the photos will be unveiled during an event at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at town hall that will promote the town’s division of Onondaga County’s Find and Assist Veterans of Record card program.