Nearly 1,000 have attended Patriot Trip tours with Assemblyman Hawley
MEDINA – Steve Hawley wanted to give his father, former Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley, a gift about a decade ago. The younger Hawley took his dad to Washington, D.C. to see the war memorials, including the recently opened one for World War II veterans.
The elder Hawley served in World War II in Burma with the famed Merrill’s Marauders. The World War II memorial opened in 2004 in honor of more than 400,000 American soldiers who died in the war.
Another local World War II veteran, Michael Paduchak of Kendall, heard about Hawley’s trip to Washington and asked the younger Hawley, now the local assemblyman, if he would organize a similar trip for local veterans.
As a state legislator, Hawley thought it might be more appropriate for a federal official to organize the effort. He reached out to Tom Reynolds, the former local congressman, who urged Hawley to lead the effort. Hawley is a veteran and serves on the State Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
The bronze statue depicts Gen. Kemble Warren, the Union general who fought off the Confederates during the Battle of Gettysburg. He is known as the “Hero of Little Round Top.” The Patriot Trip includes a stop at Gettysburg.
Hawley and his staff have now led veterans on eight Patriot Trips. That’s nearly 1,000 people in all. The early trips had many World War II veterans. The most recent one, which departed Batavia about two weeks ago, only had two WWII vets. There were more than 20 veterans from the Korean War, 36 who served in Vietnam, and others who served in Desert Storm, and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The eighth Patriot Trip included 104 people in all and they were able to see the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Iwo Jima – The Marine Corps Memorial, American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial, Air Force Memorial, 911 Memorial at the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery including the Changing of the Guard, Wreath Laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns – Vietnam Veterans, Gettysburg Battlefields and Mt. Vernon.