OSSINING, N.Y. -- State Sen. David Carlucci visited American Legion Post 506 on Tuesday to discuss various state legislation that could impact veterans.
Carlucci also presented Commander Frank Faiella with a $50,000 check to make improvements to the center's roof and kitchen.
“The Ossining American Legion does wonderful things for our community,” Carlucci said. “Whether it’s providing a meeting place and programs for our veterans or awarding scholarships to local students, they are constantly giving back."
Carlucci discussed the veterans tax exemption for school taxes, which was approved in Ossining. Carlucci said he would like to see legislation where the state reimbursed districts for the loss of revenue so other residents wouldn't foot the bill.
"We want to make sure homeownership is possible for veterans in Westchester," Carlucci said. "We want to help our veterans and provide mandate relief for school districts."
The senator also discussed helping veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, especially if they end up arrested.
"Our prisons and jails are flooded with people with mental illnesses," Carlucci said. "Incarceration doesn't help. It's draining our tax coffers while not helping anybody."
Carlucci said he would like to see judges take PTSD into account and to give corrections officers more training in PTSD. Rockland County has a veterans court program that assists veterans in trouble with the law.
"These judges are making decisions with no training or idea of the circumstances," Carlucci said.
Stephen Smalley, a veteran, said he enjoyed meeting with Carlucci. He said his biggest concern is making sure the Montrose VA Hospital remains open.
"It would be a travesty if they closed it," Smalley said. "We need this care."
Faiella said the post makes itself available to people every day, offering coffee and doughnuts to veterans in the morning and providing lunches.
"We're pretty active," Faiella said. "We want to keep our membership up."
The American Legion offers scholarships to graduating seniors and goes into Ossining schools to talk to students about veterans' experiences.
Carlucci also presented Faiella with a state Senate proclamation for his 50 years of volunteer service with Ossining Fire Department.
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