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Chestertown man honored for military, community service

Gathering Dec. 2  to honor the late Fred Vetter for his service to Chestertown, Warren County and the nation, are (front row, left to right): Jackie Vetter-Avignon, Nick Avignon, Jennie Vetter Sausville and Jim Sausville of Saranac Lake, (rear) Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec, Phil and Emmy Santasiero of Johnsburg, state Senate aide Dan MacEntee, Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe, and county Supervisor-Elect Mark Wescott. The Vetter family was presented with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol (front, center) to memorialize Fred Vetter’s service to the nation.

Gathering Dec. 2 to honor the late Fred Vetter for his service to Chestertown, Warren County and the nation, are (front row, left to right): Jackie Vetter-Avignon, Nick Avignon, Jennie Vetter Sausville and Jim Sausville of Saranac Lake, (rear) Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec, Phil and Emmy Santasiero of Johnsburg, state Senate aide Dan MacEntee, Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe, and county Supervisor-Elect Mark Wescott. The Vetter family was presented with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol (front, center) to memorialize Fred Vetter’s service to the nation. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Bearing flags, a silvery bugle and solemn expressions, veterans stood at attention while county and state officials recounted the military service of the late Frederick J. Vetter, a pillar of the Chestertown community for decades.

The ceremony was held Monday Dec. 5 in the Warren County Municipal Center.

Vetter was a Medical Aidman in the U.S. Army, serving in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II from 1943 to 1945 in the Apennine Mountains and Po Valley Italy.

After the war, he returned to the North Country, representing the third generation of Vetters working in his family's hardware store – after attending St. Lawrence University and earning a degree in Business Administration.

Vetter sold the business in 1967, then worked with local surveyors Bill Brannon and Joseph LaFlure. He also worked as a full-time professional ski patrolman for 17 years at Gore Mountain Ski Center.

During these years, he worked on the family's tree farm. His community service includes membership in the Chestertown Fire Department for about 33 years, serving as Fire Chief from 1961 to 1964.

He also served on the Town of Chester Zoning Board of Appeals, the Advisory Board to Emerson Bank in Warrensburg, and the Advisory Board of the Chester-Horicon Health Center.

Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec noted that Vetter's dedication was reflected in the six military medals he received, including the Purple Heart.

Stec gave the Vetter family members a proclamation declaring Dec. 5 as Frederick Vetter Day in his honor.

“We all appreciate his life and everything he's done for our community, not only in the U.S. Military service overseas, but right here,” Stec said.

The solemn recognition of Vetter's service to his country was the latest of dozens of “Honor a Deceased Veteran” ceremonies held in Warren County since the program started in 2002.

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