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Honoring December's Local Hero

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Students from Hampton Bays continued their efforts to honor local veterans by conducting a flag ceremony on Friday, December 2, at the elementary school in honor of James Papandrea, a recipient of the Purple Heart and member of the United States Marine Corps division the “Fighting Fourth” during World War II. The flag will fly in recognition of his service through the month of December.

Directly following the flag ceremony, a reception was held at the middle school that featured a presentation of gifts, essays and a light brunch, courtesy of the Kiwanis Builders Club kids. Prior to Friday, students from the fifth grade decorated the middle school hallways in honor of Mr. Papandrea, who has donated his Purple Heart medal for display in the middle school library during the month of December.

Those in attendance at the event included: fifth and sixth-grade students and their teachers, November honoree Walter Flaherty, members of the American Legion Hand-Aldrich Post 924, the Kiwanis Club of Southampton, the Hampton Bays Middle School PTO, Hampton Bays Superintendent Lars Clemensen, Hampton Bays Middle School Principal Dennis Schug, and elected officials—New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who presented Mr. Papandrea with a special proclamation.

Mr. Papandrea, who lives in Hampton Bays with his wife, Rosemary, also earned the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. He served his country in three major beach invasions as a member of the “demolition squad,” which hit the beaches on the first day of invasions.

“There isn’t a gift you could buy that would mean this much - this comes from the heart of the kids,” he said of the recognition he received on Friday.

Click here to read more about Mr. James Papandrea