Wolfe to be inducted into the NYS Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame on Memorial Day
Elmira, N.Y., May 29—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) today announced that Dennis L. “Denny” Wolfe, Sr. of Chemung County, a well-known area Vietnam War veteran and founder of the Vietnam War Museum in Elmira, will be inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame on Monday.
Wolfe will represent O’Mara’s 58th Senate District and be among approximately 60 veterans from throughout the state being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
Senators will honor their 2022 inductees through a virtual ceremony that will be launched on Monday, May 30, beginning at 12:00 Noon, to coincide with Memorial Day. The 2022 Veterans’ Hall of Fame virtual induction ceremony can be viewed on the Senate’s main website, www.nysenate.gov.
O’Mara isalso planning a local induction ceremony for Wolfe.
O’Mara said, “It’s an honor and a privilege to induct Denny Wolfe into the Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Denny has done anything and everything he could through the Vietnam War Museum he founded in Elmira to ensure that the legacy and the service of America’s Vietnam War veterans will always be remembered. I am grateful that the New York State Senate will take this step to ensure that Denny’s own service and his lifelong commitment to area veterans will also be remembered for generations to come. We take this opportunity to salute the lives of veterans who have made such a difference for our local communities, our state, and the United States of America. Denny Wolfe courageously served our nation in Vietnam and then returned home where he has devoted his life to tirelessly working to honor and assist his fellow veterans and strengthen our community. I am glad to take this opportunity to express our collective gratitude and respect.”
The Senate established its online Veterans’ Hall of Fame in 2005 and, including this year, has inducted nearly 500 veterans. The Hall salutes New York veterans for their service in the United States Armed Forces and their civilian accomplishments.
Wolfe’s Hall of Fame page can be viewed on O’Mara’s Senate website, www.omara.nysenate.gov, beginning Monday.
His full Hall of Fame biography follows:
Born and raised in Elmira, New York, Dennis L. “Denny” Wolfe, Sr. graduated from Southside High School in 1964.
Denny was drafted into the United States Army in January 1966. He served with the 1st Air Calvary Division, the ﬁrst full Army division deployed to Vietnam, from 1967 to 1968, as a Helicopter Crew Chief, including throughout the Tet Oﬀensive in 1968.
He achieved the rank of Specialist E-5. Once he was discharged in 1968, he returned to Elmira, where he has devoted his life to assisting and honoring area veterans.
As a charter member of Chapter 803 of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), in 1993, Mr. Wolfe conceived the idea for and began developing what would become the Vietnam War Museum at 1200 Davis Street in Elmira, approximately one-half mile south of the Woodlawn National Cemetery.
The Museum held its grand opening on May 2, 2009. Honoring the memory of Major Robert H. Schuler, Jr., who was shot down over North Vietnam on October 15, 1965, the Museum is dedicated solely to the Vietnam War in tribute to the sacriﬁces and service of all Vietnam Veterans.
Noted for its distinctive awning, façade, and row of ﬂags, the Museum is staﬀed mostly by veteran volunteers and is open to the public free of charge.
Additionally, the Museum serves as the home of VVA Chapter 803. Mr. Wolfe continues to serve as the Museum Director. In 2016, Historic Elmira honored him and Chapter 803 President Larry Sherman with its “Elmira Historic Preservation Award” for their work in adaptively reusing a historic building to create the Museum.
Mr. Wolfe, along with his fellow veterans, through the Museum and the work of VVA Chapter 803, gives back to the local community in countless ways, including advocacy and assistance for area veterans, assisting the annual “Wreaths Across America” observance at the Woodlawn National Cemetery, and sponsoring a college scholarship award for local students.
Deﬁned by his deep commitment, steadfast eﬀort, labor of love, and ongoing vision for the Museum he founded, Mr. Wolfe is a proud representative and keeper of the history, sacriﬁce and service of America’s Vietnam Veterans for future generations.
O’Mara’s previous Veterans’ Hall of Fame inductees were:
> in 2011, Philip C. Smith, a highly decorated Korean War combat veteran and well-known figure in Schuyler County government and veterans’ affairs;
> in 2012, J. Arthur “Archie” Kieffer, a World War II combat veteran and a widely admired fixture in Chemung County government as the Chemung County historian;
> in 2013, Painted Post Mayor and World War II combat veteran Roswell L. “Roz” Crozier, Jr.;
> in 2014, Anthony J. “Tony” Specchio, Sr., a distinguished Korean War veteran and widely respected for his long-standing and active service to veterans and government in Watkins Glen and throughout Schuyler County;
> in 2016, P. Earle Gleason, a lifelong Yates County resident and longtime director of the Yates County Veterans’ Service Agency;
> in 2018, Warren A. Thompson, a lifelong Steuben County resident and farmer, and a stalwart in the county’s civic and veterans affairs;
> in 2019, Paul C. “Digger” Vendetti of Elmira, a World War II United States Navy veteran and longtime caretaker at Woodlawn National Cemetery; and
> in 2021, Richard T. “Dick” Gillespie of Penn Yan, a veteran of World War II.
Other area veterans who are Hall of Fame members are Frank C. “Fritz” Pesesky, a veteran of World War II and former director of the Chemung County Veterans Service Office (2005); William K. Kastner, a Vietnam veteran and longtime director of the Steuben County Veterans Service Agency (2006); and Robert Laskaris, a highly decorated combat veteran and well-known figure in Chemung County veterans’ affairs (2008).