ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – In honor of Memorial Day, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara hosted a ceremony on Sunday, May 30 at the Via Port Mall in Rotterdam where he unveiled a new Veterans Memorial.
The Memorial represents all branches of service and bears the names of Louis Lupi, “EJ” Knapick, and Bill Hart – three local veterans who recently passed away. Additional names will be added by request in the coming months and years to come.
Louis Lupi Sr. served as a sharpshooter in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. After his honorary discharge, Louis R. Lupi Sr. moved to Rotterdam, where he began his career with General Electric. He was an active member of AMVETS Post 35 in Rotterdam and was officially recognized, commended and thanked for his contributions to the veteran community when his name was inscribed on the Veteran’s Monument at Rotterdam Town Hall, and for his selection as the 2019 Grand Marshall of the Rotterdam Veterans Parade.
“EJ” Knapik was a Navy veteran who served as a petty officer aboard the U.S.S. Miami stationed in the Pacific during World War II. Knapik worked as a steam turbine designer for General Electric for 33 years upon the completion of his military service. He also served as a commander at AMVETS and served as legislative chair for over 30 years, for which he received the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award.
William Hart Sr. served as a combat medic in the United States Army for eight years. He completed two tours of duty in Germany, one in San Francisco and was stationed in Vietnam from 1967-68, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star with a “V” device for heroism. Upon completing his service, Hart returned to his hometown and was employed as a nurse at General Electric before changing careers and working as Snappy the Clown for 11 years. As Snappy the Clown, he entertained thousands and brought laughter to children in hospitals and foster homes. He also served at AMVETS Post 35, where he worked to help fellow veterans obtain their due benefits.
“By honoring and preserving the memory of those who have been lost and continuing to support our troops and their families with these special places in our community helps give these men and women the recognition they deserve,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara. “After such a challenging year, it’s my hope that we not only thank those who have given their all for our country, but take the time to reflect on what it means to be an American. Memorial Day is a time for us to come together and honor the courageous men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the principles that unite us as Americans.”