Buffalo Soldier Award Ceremony Honors County Heroes

POMONA – County Executive Ed Day and Director Susan Branam of the Rockland County Veterans Service Agency recognized three local veterans for their outstanding service during a special ceremony at the Rockland County Fire Training Center on Wednesday, February 14.

The 2024 Buffalo Soldiers Award was presented to Army Veterans James Epps and Grady Anderson, Jr.

A “Buffalo Soldier” is the nickname first given to members of African American cavalry regiments of the U.S. Army who served in the western United States from 1867 to 1896, noted for their courage and discipline. The Buffalo Soldiers Award is presented annually to outstanding African American veterans who reside in Rockland County.

“It takes a certain kind of person to place your own life on hold to put your country first but both awardees did it without hesitation,” said County Executive Ed Day. “There’s no question, the freedoms we enjoy today would not be possible without the men and women who make the brave choice to serve our nation, including these local heroes, and it is my pleasure to recognize their courage.”

James Epps joined the Army in 1953 and was later stationed in Germany, where he served as a machine gunner until September of 1956, when he was honorably discharged. James has continued to serve his community delivering meals to senior citizens with the Prince Hall Freemasonry Tappan Zee Lodge No. 79, which he has been a member of since 1975.
Grady Anderson, Jr. joined the army in 1959 and where he served overseas in Germany.

Upon his discharge in 1963, he returned to Spring Valley. On top of a fulfilling career as an x-ray technician when he came home, he has been a member and Past Commander of Moscarella Post 199, Member of VVA 333, and Member and past Chef de Gare of the 40&8. He also served as Oratorical Chairperson for Rockland County American Legion for 8 years. Not only is he a past recipient of our Buffalo Soldier Award in 1993 he was co-founder and historian of Buffalo Soldier Awardees and presents that history every year at the event. He has received several honors over the years for his tireless devotion to our community including his 60-year membership with First Baptist Church of Spring Valley, where he is also Deacon.

George Crouch, a WWII & Korean War Veteran, was also present with an Unsung Hero Award by the Buffalo Soldiers of Rockland County.

“We thank these individuals for their bravery and continued commitment to our residents. We are proud to list your name among the proud African American men and women who have been named to the Rockland County Buffalo Soldiers in years past,” concluded County Executive Day.

Veterans Service Agency Susan Branam and County Executive Ed Day also received Honorary Membership to the Buffalo Soldiers of Rockland County for encouraging the wellbeing of veterans and soldiers, both past and present.

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