Suffern native and Vietnam veteran, Army Staff Sergeant Jeremy Honey inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
The New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.
Honey was inducted by State Senator David Carlucci.
Senator Carlucci said, “Our service members deserve our gratitude as they have selflessly served our country to protect the freedoms we hold dear. Many Vietnam veterans like Jeremy Honey did not come home to events honoring their service, and now we have an opportunity to right that wrong. Honey served in the Army for 12 years, went on to train other elite soldiers, and now helps veterans suffering from mental illness. He’s extremely deserving of this honor, and we thank him for his service and dedication to his country.”
Honey served bravely in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, and was then reassigned to Cambodia. Later, Honey served more than three years in the Federal Republic of Germany where he worked to protect West Germany.
When Honey returned to the United States, he trained officers and other senior sergeants in places such as the United States Military Academy at West Point and at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland.
Following his honorable discharge in 1980, Honey continued to serve his nation by working for the federal government. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan named him “Federal Employee of the Year,” for his exemplary work with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Now Honey is widely respected for the work he does for veterans. He has been the Director of the “Missing in America” House, a home for mentally ill veterans, and is the founder and past Commander of the Disabled American Veterans in Rockland County. Never backing away from assisting veterans in need, Honey has spoken at length about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has personally driven veterans with alcohol or emotional issues to the VA Hospital in Montrose, New York for treatment.
“Meet Our New Human Rights Commissioner” By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
Without question Rockland County is a “melting pot” of diverse cultures and ethnicities which is exactly why my administration made sure to not rush the process of filling the critical position of Human Rights Commissioner.
We took our time combing through candidates to find the most qualified individual to protect the human rights of our residents.
That search started with an extensive recruitment process through multiple avenues including online job sites, the County of Rockland website, with assistance from the Human Rights Commission, members of the County Legislature, and many other
Once we gathered a list of leading candidates, we had them interviewed by a panel of top human rights advocates, which unanimously recommended that Spencer Chiimbwe move on to the next step of the interview process.
Most recently, Spencer worked for the County of Rockland as a Grants Specialist for our American Rescue Plan Act Department assisting local organizations and communities navigate the sometimes-complicated grant application processes. But as I share more of this Stony Point man’s background it will be easy to see why he is being appointed to this position.
Throughout his career, Spencer worked in an array of positions that solidified his fundamental understanding of government, which is crucial in this role.
He spent several years working at the ACTION Support Center, securing grants from entities like the Ford Foundation.
He spent several years working in the New York State Senate conducting legislative research and drafting policy documents.
He volunteered for Congresswoman Nita Lowey assisting with constituent services and connecting with community stakeholders.
Spencer spent 5 years working with the United African Congress inspiring community engagement and participation around key issues like health care, domestic violence, education, and empowerment.
He also served as Vice President for the When In Need Foundation, a humanitarian and philanthropic nonprofit working with disadvantaged communities.
All that experience is just the tip of the iceberg for Spencer.
I am confident his extensive experience working across cultural lines will aid him in his new role.
We expect our Human Rights Commissioner to be omnipresent, establish trust, and be proactive in helping residents facing discrimination of any kind.
My appointment of Spencer Chiimbwe as our next Commissioner has been submitted to the Rockland County Legislature and I look forward to celebrating his confirmation in the coming weeks.
I remind our residents that no one person, one department, or one group, can get the job done. The collective ownership and responsibility of protecting human rights starts and ends with every one of us.
We must all commit, as a County, to stand united against any form of hate or discrimination that surfaces.
* Column written by Rockland County Executive Ed Day.
Rockland County Announces Senior of the Year Awards
POMONA, NY – County Executive Ed Day and Office for the Aging Director Martha Robles honored two super seniors in Rockland Thursday for their longtime community service to helping others.
Winsome Downie Rainford was named 2022 Senior of the Year for dedicating her life to helping others overcome challenges. Rainford spent 42 years teaching political science while also serving on the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center in Spring Valley. Winsome has also been an active member of the United Methodist Church since 1984, a Helping Hands Homeless Program volunteer, an officer in the Jamaican Civic and Cultural Association of Rockland (JAMCCAR) since its founding 32 years ago, and continues to serve as JAMCCAR’s Parliamentarian and on its Scholarship Committee.
The second honoree Mamta Arya was awarded the 2022 Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen. Arya has called Rockland County home ever since she immigrated here from India in 1976. After earning her master’s degree, she spent 15 years working with people with mental illness, substance abuse, and special needs. With a passion for helping others, she went on to launch her own non-profit “Jeevan Jyoti.” The organization offers free services to seniors including learning new skills or how to take care of their aging body and mind six days a week.
“These recipients are an inspiration to us all,” said County Executive Ed Day. “And a reminder that regardless of where you come from you can make a difference.”