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Memorial Day Tribute to U.S. Veterans
May 25, 2018

NYU Winthrop Continues a Legacy of Treating – and Honoring – Those Who Served

Memorial Day Tribute to U.S. Veterans | NYU Winthrop HospitalCamp Black

Mineola, NY -- NYU Winthrop has long had the honor of treating U.S. veterans on Long Island, dating back to the second year of the Hospital’s operation in 1899, when 50 soldiers who fought in the Spanish-American War were admitted to the Hospital from Camp Black, located in today’s Garden City area. Of those seriously ill veterans 49 recovered, an extraordinary number for those days. Today, we continue our legacy of treating – and honoring – those who served. Through our “NYU Winthrop for Veterans Program” we identify patients that are veterans and Volunteer Services visits each to thank them for their service. Among the volunteers is Joseph Altavilla, whose son has served for 21 years. As often as possible, NYU Winthrop also gifts to each veteran a red, white and blue lap blanket crafted by volunteers. Highlights of the service of a few we recently recognized:

From Delancey Street to the Pacific: NYC native Salvatore Narbone enlisted in the Army in 1947 because he said, “You can’t leave the dirty work to just a few; you have to do your share.” He went from being a rifleman to Military Police and after completing his enlistment, joined the Navy! As a Navy radioman, he put critical weather reports into Morse Code for disbursement to ships in the Pacific.

Memorial Day Tribute to U.S. Veterans | NYU Winthrop HospitalArmy and Navy veteran Salvatore Narbone

Holding off the Russians: Francis Cooper was a Strategic Air Command mechanic in the early 50s, working on the biggest US warplane ever, a “monstrosity,” 10-engine B-36 bomber that could carry nuclear weapons all the way to the USSR. Given its size, Cooper was kept busy, and he said that while the plane never performed combat missions, its existence “let the Russians know we could reach them.” The plane had enough fuel that if you put it in a car, you could drive around the world a couple of times.

Memorial Day Tribute to U.S. Veterans | NYU Winthrop HospitalAir Force veteran Francis Cooper

Cold War Morse Code Radio Operator. Air Force veteran Ronald Kotliar typed 100 words a minute, taking in secret messages while stationed on the Isle of Crete at the height of the Cold War from 1962-63. The location had its perks with Kotliar meeting Walt Disney, who was filming on the island. Now a Florida resident, Kotliar flew up to NYU Winthrop, because he said that for the procedure he needed done, the Hospital has the best specialist possible – John Allendorf, MD, Vice Chairman of Surgery.

Memorial Day Tribute to U.S. Veterans | NYU Winthrop Hospital

A Veteran’s Wife Soldiers On: Marj Castoria may not have served, but her husband, Pete, was an Army veteran under General Patton’s command, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge – WWII’s largest battle – with a tank destroyer division. In memory of her late husband (a former NYU Winthrop patient) and the brave soldiers with whom he served, Marj knits red, white and blue lap blankets to be gifted to veterans treated at NYU Winthrop. She recently delivered 15 to the Hospital, and NYU Winthrop would like to thank her for her service!

Memorial Day Tribute to U.S. Veterans | NYU Winthrop HospitalArmy veteran Pete Castoria

The Hospital is also lucky to have knitting and crochet clubs from St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hempstead and St. William the Abbot Parish in Seaford contributing blankets, and American Legion Auxiliary Unit # 1424 in Forest Hills helps fund the yarn!