The Peekskill-Cortlandt area is home to many veterans, and Montrose serves as a home to veterans from all over the state through the VA Hospital located there.
Three local veterans have been chosen as inductees into Sen. Greg Ball’s 40th District Hall of Fame. Read the biographies, provided by Ball’s office, below. Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch thanks Harrison, Campanaro and Searles, as well as our country's thousands of other veterans, for their service and sacrafices for our freedom.
Reitred Ship Fitter Third Class Russ Harrison
Retired Ship Fitter Third Class Russ Harrison is the Village of Buchanan’s honoree for the 40th District Veterans’ Hall of Fame.
A past President of the Boilermakers Local 5, Ret. SF3 Harrison was born on July 21, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Ret. SF3 Harrison volunteered and immediately went to work on the Pearl Harbor recovery, removing damaged ships from the channel.
Ret. SF3 Harrison served in the United States Navy during World War II, and was assigned to the Japanese Occupation Force. Following his discharge, Ret. SF3 Harrison remained with the Navy Reserve through 1954.
Ret. SF3 Harrison is currently a member of the Masonic Order in Cortlandt, a member of the Buchanan Seniors and Cortlandt Seniors, and a member of both the Peekskill Elks Lodge and the Brewster Elks Lodge. He volunteers as a member of the Town of Cortlandt’s Veteran’s Committee, on which he serves as co-chair, and he is a former commander of the Avenel, New Jersey Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Ret. SF3 Harrison also volunteered as a fireman in Ben Salpoint.
Ret. SF3 Russ Harrison is also a member of the Westchester County Senior Hall of Fame.
Retired Sergeant Squad Leader Frank L. Campanaro
Retired Sergeant Squad Leader Frank L. Campanaro is the Town of Cortlandt’s honoree for the 40th District Veterans’ Hall of Fame.
Shortly following his graduation from Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, New York, in 1942, Ret. SGT Campanaro began basic training with the United States Army on the 15th of January, 1943 at Camp Croft, South Carolina before he was assigned to the 152nd Infantry, E Company, 2nd Battalion, where he was deployed to the Pacific Theatre and served at New Guinea, Leyte, and Luzon.
Ret. SGT Campanaro earned many awards from the United States Army during World War II, including the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal, the Philippine Independence Medal, and the Bronze Arrowhead.
To this day, Ret. SGT Campanaro still has most of the documentation and memos from his service in the United States Army, and wrote a detailed, autobiographical account of his experiences during the war.
Retired Specialist 4 Duke A. Searles
Retired Specialist 4 Duke A. Searles is the City of Peekskill’s honoree for the 40th District Veterans’ Hall of Fame.
Currently the volunteer supervisor of the Montrose V.A. Food Pantry, Ret. SP4 Searles was born on April 23, 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He served in the United States Army from June 1967 to July 1968, earning the Combat Infantry Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Vietnam Ribbon. Upon his return from service following his honorable discharge, Ret. SP4 Searles earned his G.E.D. in 1970 and went to work for the New York City Transit Authority as a Bus Dispatcher.
In addition to his volunteer work with the Montrose Food Pantry, Ret. SP4 Searles worked for thirteen years at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. He has been recognized for his work with our community’s veterans, receiving the Hungry Heroes Award and Volunteer of the Year.
Ret. SP4 Searles is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans.
Do you know any of these three veterans personally? Tell us about them in the comments. Don’t know them? Feel free to thank them for their service in the comments.