Ahead of Veterans Day, New York State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright presented the “Exceptional Women in Service Award” to Gov. Kathy Hochul during the third annual women in service Veterans Day Tribute Ceremony at the recently rediscovered Overseas Service League Flagstaff and Grove in Central Park.
The occasion also paid special homage to five women veterans and volunteers, who have served our country and our local communities. Honorees include Brigadier General Loree Sutton, US Army (Retired); Theresa Tobin, Chief of Interagency Operations, New York Police Department; Michelle Fitzsimmons, Battalion Chief, Fire Department of New York City; Zeita Merchant, Captain, US Coast Guard; Yesenia Mata – Executive Director, La Colmena; Dottie Brier – Disaster Mental Health Volunteer, American Red Cross in Greater NY.
In 1925, a Central Park memorial grove of 24 trees and flagstaff were conceptualized for a tribute to American women who died overseas during World War One. This symbolic grove and flagpole were rediscovered last year. Today, the living memorial of thriving trees recognizes women who served our nation in countless ways. It spans the wall along Fifth Avenue from 69th to 71st Streets. The first re-commemoration ceremony was held there in November 2019.
The event was co-organized by the Office of Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, The Howard Teich Network, The American Red Cross in Greater NY and community partners including the Columbus Citizens Foundation and the Eastside WWI Centennial Commemoration.