Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano honored Navy Yeoman 3rd Class Laura Fortner of Massapequa at Nassau County’s 2nd Annual Women in the Military Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, May 10th at the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage. Laura was stationed at the Bureau of Yards & Docks in Washington D.C. for 18 months. She was in Washington when Theodore Roosevelt died and attended his funeral.
“Today we bestow a special honor on Laura Fortner, and all the women who served in the military during World War II,” said County Executive Mangano. “On behalf of a grateful County, thank you for all your selfless service and sacrifice. We would not enjoy the freedoms we do here, were it not for the members of our Armed Forces.”
County Executive Mangano honored 11 female veterans in total at this year’s ceremony, for which the theme was “Opening the Door”—honoring military women considered trailblazers for future females serving in the Armed Forces. The honorees were all between 92-97 years of age, representing the Army, Navy, Marines & Air Corp, and all having served between 1942-1946 during WWII. Each honoree was presented with a citation, an engraved star, a bouquet of flowers and a gift basket.
Sponsors of the event included: Semper4Veterans Inc; Nassau County United Veterans; The MHA-PFC Dwyer Peer Support program; and Marissa P. Giglio Consulting.
More than 350,000 women served in various capacities in the U.S. military during World War II, including working as military analysts, lab techs, clerks and radio operators. It is estimated that there are at least 1,500 female veterans in Nassau County, judging by the number of Long Island women that have sought treatment at the VA. However, the true number is probably far greater.
Last year, County Executive Mangano proclaimed the first week in May as “Women in the Military Week” in Nassau, and announced the forming of Women in the Military (W.I.T.M.) Inc. which is headquartered in the County. The group’s mission is to bring together women with unique shared military experience, for camaraderie, empowerment, advocacy and charity.
Pictured From Left to Right: Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano; Rachel Conliffa; Sharran Chambers-Murphy; Sylinthia Burges, Veterans Service; Laura Fortner, Honoree; and Phoebe Ervin, Counselor