East Syracuse Judge Don Harrison was no ordinary judge.
“Judge Harrison was the people’s judge, having served with compassion and character with a unique perspective and understanding of everyday people,” reads a plaque that now hangs in East Syracuse Village Hall.
On Monday, the courtroom was dedicated in Harrison’s name.
Harrison was a Navy veteran in World War II and the Korean War, a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years and a member of the East Syracuse Fire Department for more than 50 years, where he served two terms as fire chief. He was a communicant of St. Matthews Church in East Syracuse, and a member of the Arthur Butler American Legion Post, Knights of Columbus and a founding member of EAVES Ambulance Corp.
He served as East Syracuse Village Justice from 1970 to 1995. He died March 14, 1996.
“I was his paperboy when I was a little kid, and he kept me out of trouble when I was a little boy,” East Syracuse Mayor Danny Liedka said. “He was really a huge influence on this community.”
Liedka added: “It gives me a lot of pleasure and a lot of pride to name this courtroom after the Honorable Donald G. Harrison.”
Liedka read from comments prepared by Village Justice Donald Benack, who was unable to attend the ceremony.
“Judge Harrison was not only a great judge, but also a man of great principles and devoted to his community,” Benack wrote. “His picture hangs in my chambers, and every time I look at it he is looking right at me with a grin on his face, as if to say, ‘You asked for it. Now do the best you can.’ I can only hope to be half as good as Judge Harrison. I will be honored to step into this courtroom knowing it is named after him.”
Harrison’s two daughters, Rebecca Rannucci and Marianne Harrison Lindley, were both present.
“It’s just a great honor. He was a great man, and he deserved this,” Harrison Lindley said. “He dedicated his whole life to East Syracuse, his entire life to East Syracuse. Not saying he wasn’t a good dad, because he was — he was always there for us for everything.”