County officials honor deceased Air Force pilot, Lake George teacher Jack Brynes

QUEENSBURY As a color guard of veterans bearing flags stood at attention Monday, county and state officials recounted the military service of the late John Jack Kennedy Brynes, an Air Force Pilot who served in Viet Nam as a pilot and aircraft commander. Brynes, the 10th person to be honored this year by the countys deceased veteran recognition program, also served his community with distinction after he concluded his military service. Brynes was later a teacher for 26 years at Lake George High School, his alma mater. Brynes was commissioned from the ROTC as a second Lieutenant, entering active duty with the U.S. Air Force in June, 1961. During his six years of duty, Brynes flew missions from Cambodia and elsewhere, delivering supplies into Viet Nam. Monday, County Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe praised Higgins courage and his service to the nation, mentioning his military awards, which include the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec followed by presenting two new honors, including the state Medal for Merit and the Conspicuous Service Award, on behalf of Gov. David Paterson. Stec noted that state Senator Betty Little (R-Queensbury) would be presenting the state Senates Liberty Medal to the Brynes family at a later date. Stec also offered his thoughts. Were here to recognize the accomplishments of a a great American, he said. Heather Loneck, representing U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, praised Brynes distinguished service to his nation. Loneck presented Higgins widow Joanne Gavin with a U.S. flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol. After Mondays ceremony, it was run up the flagpole in front of the county Municipal Center, where it will be flown for a month. Our deepest appreciation for how he served so bravely during his distinguished career, Loneck said. Brynes was born in Schenectady in 1937, but later moved to the area and attended Lake George High School. Brynes married Joanne Gavin the two met in their jobs as teachers in Lake George, and they built a home together on Halada Drive. Together, they raised one son, Patrick. John had two daughters, Elizabeth and Kathryn, from a previous marriage. Patrick, who attended Mondays service, recalled the times he enjoyed with his father in his early childhood, before Jack Brynes was stricken with multiple myeloma, then cancer, terminal illnesses which may have been related to exposure to Agent Orange in the Viet Nam war, his son said. His father loved the outdoors, loved sailing and downhill skiing, Patrick Brynes recalled. Now, Patrick is carrying on his fathers traditions, racing yachts and enjoying competitive and recreational skiing. Brynes also passed along his love of Lake George, Patrick Brynes said, noting how he has recently been working as a scuba diver to\\to place matting on the lake-bottom to keep the lakeweed milfoil from spreading. Patrick Brynes also recalled how his father was a beloved high school teacher, leading Social Studies classes at the 9th grade level. Jack Brynes former students still talk of how he was a friend, mentor and an inspiration, his son said, noting his father was known as Happy Jack to his pupils. He was down-to-earth, and real with them, Patrick Brynes said of his father, who won two Teacher of the Year awards during his tenure.

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