HELPING OUT — Owen Jassak received the American Red Cross Youth Good Samaritan Award at the Real Heroes Breakfast held on June 2. He is pictured with mother, Cheryl Jassak, special events/planning associate for Sitrin Health Care Center.

Area boy to host ceremony to honor vets in New York Mills

Published Jun 11, 2016 at 4:00pm

NEW YORK MILLS — A young philanthropist will host a flag ceremony at noon on Sunday at the Veterans Memorial Park to honor military members and veterans. This event is free and open to the public.

At the ceremony, nearly 850 American flags that were sponsored by individuals, businesses and organizations will be placed throughout the park, each containing the name of a past or present service member.

Last year, hundreds of Mohawk Valley residents enjoyed the friendly competition between local first responders and the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST), a group of veterans that educated the crowd on the athletic abilities of individuals with amputations and the benefits that recreational therapy can provide to veterans.

Understanding the importance of supporting veterans and promoting adaptive sports, 8-year-old Owen Jassak of New Hartford wants to bring the team back to Utica in 2017 so even more individuals can be impacted by its message. He also supports Sitrin’s Military Rehabilitation Program because he has met many veterans who have benefited from Sitrin’s treatment program. To accomplish this task, Jassak has launched several fund raising initiatives and has set a goal to raise $10,000.

Proceeds from fund raiser will support Sitrin’s Stars and Stripes Run~Walk, the primary fundraiser for Sitrin’s Military Rehabilitation Program, and the WWAST.

In addition, as a surprise to Jassak, Joseph White, deputy program manager of Dyncorp and retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 2, will honor him at the ceremony with two military challenge coins and an American flag that was flown over Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. These items were shipped from Afghanistan and will be presented to Jassak by Rosemary Bonacci, vice president of foundation and communications at Sitrin.

An American Red Cross Youth Good Samaritan Award recipient, the dedicated and ambitious second-grader’s aspiration to help veterans started at age 4. Since then, he has raised more than $15,000 for Sitrin’s Military Rehabilitation Program.