Hudson County names 11 Veterans of the Year for 2023 at awards ceremony


The Hudson County government named 11 Veterans of the Year for 2023 at an awards ceremony at County Prep High School in Jersey City on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of Hudson County.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The freedom we enjoy as Americans is protected by those willing to serve our nation to defend it,” Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said in a statement.

“That is why it was truly an honor to have this opportunity to stand before these outstanding individuals and thank them for their service to our country on behalf of all the people of Hudson County.”

The awardees are as follows:

Bayonne’s Will Sheehan, a Naval Academy graduate and former Navy SEALS intelligence officer.

Guttenberg’s Michael Matera, honorably discharged from the Army in 1953 and member of VFW Post 3.

Harrison’s William Sweeney, a U.S. Navy vet, member of American Legion Post 282 and coordinator of the local VOICE program that connect veterans with community services.

Hoboken’s James J. Farina, who served in the U.S. Army during the 1960s and has a four-decade long history of community service to his city. He is currently the Hoboken city clerk.

Kearny’s John F. Pettigrew, a former Navy and Coast Guard vet who volunteers with American Legion Post 99 and 282.

Jersey City’s Jason M. Stuart, a 14-year veteran of the Army National Guard who now runs a local small business.

North Bergen’s Andrew Ventura, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in Vietnam and has been a member of the American Legion for 31 years and a lifetime member of the VFW.

Secaucus’s Philip Papa, U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War who serves today as the commander of VFW Post 3776/

Union City’s Gunnery Sgt. Caonabo Reyes, a platoon leader in Operation Desert Storm who today serves as commander of American Legion Post 221.

Weehawken’s Rafael Torres, a member of the U.S. Army in the early 1950s, he still works in his community.

West New York’s Christian Ramos, recently returned from deployment and now continues to serve and protect as a member of the West New York Police Department and member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

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