Honor Flight funding requested at county

Joe Demarco, center, speaks with county supervisors Tom Scozzafava (Moriah), Randy Douglas (Jay) and Margaret Bartley (Elizabethtown).

Joe Demarco, center, speaks with county supervisors Tom Scozzafava (Moriah), Randy Douglas (Jay) and Margaret Bartley (Elizabethtown). Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— After hearing little response from representatives at the state and federal level, World War II veteran Joe Demarco turned to the halls of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

Demarco spoke to members of the Public Safety Committee Aug. 12, asking them to provide funding for the North Country Honor Flight program, which takes World War II veterans to the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“Each flight costs $10,000, and they could sure use your help,” Demarco said.

He added that Jay Supervisor and County Board Chairman Randy Douglas had sent a letter on his behalf to all of the regional representatives at the state and federal level, and had little success.

“I received one response from Congressman Owens’ office, and he said there was no funding available,” Demarco said.

“It is too bad that there is no state and federal funding available,” Douglas said. “I think that it would be appropriate and taxpayer dollars well spent to give some funding to get these veterans to the memorial.”

Committee chair Randy Preston of Wilmington said the board would have to find out if they could legally give a contribution of taxpayer money.

“We would have to check with the county attorney, but it is my understanding that we cannot donate money,” Preston said.

“I agree that it is an appropriate use of money, but I do have to question the legality of it,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava added. “In the town of Moriah, we gave money to the VFW for flags and stuff and we were told to stop.”

Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley, who told Demarco she was the daughter of the WWII vet, said there were other ways the supervisors could help the program.

“I think we have more leverage contacting people in our towns and making a donation,” Bartley said. “I think that can be more helpful than any check that we can write as a board. I believe anybody who is the daughter or a son of a WWII veteran would be interested in contributing to this.”

“We can definitely help in each town with the fundraising efforts,” Preston said.

“We could be very supportive and put the information on our website and I would put this information on the town Facebook page,” Minerva Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey said.

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