Honoring the April Veteran

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Hampton Bays School District continued its monthly tradition of honoring veterans by conducting a flag ceremony at the elementary school on April 12 in recognition of the service of Arma “Ham” Andon.

Mr. Andon, well-known on the East End, is a tireless advocate for local veterans and a role model for all. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army who dropped out of law school at Fordham University to fight in the 26th Infantry Division, becoming commander of the 328th Infantry Combat Team during World War II. He is a survivor of the Battle of Utah Beach in Normandy, as well as at Moncourt Woods and the Battle of the Bulge.    

Hampton Bays District Superintendent Lars Clemensen praised the 94-year-old for his dedication to the community.

“You served in World War II and you’ve continued a life of service since,” he said. “Ham has gotten busier and busier as the years have gone on, and in 94 years he has not stopped.”

Although Mr. Andon resides in Westhampton Beach and not Hampton Bays, Mr. Clemensen said that he was more than worthy as an exception.

“It’s the first time we’ve honored a Westhampton Beach veteran, but we’ve adopted him as an honorary Bayman,” he declared, adding that Mr. Andon not only sets the “highest example” in his personal life but is also a former mayor and fire commissioner of Westhampton Beach, a Rotarian, the founder of the Anti-Bias Foundation and leads the charge for the Patriot’s Pen essay contest, continuing a life of service to others.

During the ceremony, Emma Henry and Christian Ruiz of the Hampton Bays High School SADD chapter read Mr. Andon’s biography, Amanda Kenny led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Lindsay and Taylor Dunn performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Additionally, Debra Liso led Keith Davis, Lindsay Dunn, Taylor Dunn, Mackenzie Engledrum, Fred Nydegger, Christian Ruiz, Mikela Ryan, Gioia Sacco, Lily Spellman and Brandon White in a performance of “America the Beautiful.”

Also present at the flag ceremony were past veteran honorees, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, Southampton Town Board member Chris Nuzzi, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., and members of the American Legion Hand-Aldrich Post 924 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350. Mr. Andon’s granddaughter, Sundy Schermeyer, who is the Southampton town clerk, was also in attendance.