Historic military collection will be on display at the Veterans Museum in Westbury on Veterans Day

Pamala Chef searched across Nassau County for a place to donate artifacts from her family’s days in the military.

Once I found the Westbury Military Historical Collection, I knew it was the right place.

A portrait of her late father, Frederick Schiff, and his World War II Bronze Star Certificate, awarded to him in 1952 for “commendable achievement in ground operations” during his time with the U.S. Army, will be a new exhibit in the historic collection. Open House on Veterans Day.

Her late grandmother, Pauline Schiff, will display her VFW Ladies Auxiliary hat with a “Son in Service” pin.

Schiff, 72, who grew up in Albertson, said she was glad she had found a place to display her family’s legacy.

“The picture, the certificate, and the hat have a place to rest,” said Schiff, who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. “People will see that and hopefully they will appreciate it.”

Schiff found the items while cleaning up her mother’s apartment, shortly after her death in August 2020. Like many other people who donated to the Village Museum, Schiff wanted to preserve the artifacts.

“They are now back on Long Island, in New York, where they started,” Schiff said.

Thomas Bennett, 67, of Westbury, was cleaning up his uncle’s basement when he found a World War I US Army uniform that belonged to his great-uncle and former corporal based in Westbury. George Anthony Hess Jr.

Although the uniform was donated over a year and a half ago, it will be a new exhibit at the open house on Thursday. Bennett said he did not realize that his great-uncle served in World War I, but noted that his family had deep roots in society and wanted to keep the uniform.

“I feel good it’s been put to good use and not thrown away,” Bennett said. “It has found a home.”

In 2014, the building that used to house Cpl. James F. Walsh VFW Post 945 has been donated to Westbury Village and turned into a veteran museum, which opened last year. Village officials said they had worked for years to collect military items and felt that last year was an ideal time to open the museum.

Mayor Peter Cavallaro said the building has great cultural value to the community and can serve as an educational tool for the younger generation.

“I think it’s a good way to teach young children that there is a price for freedom and that people in our community have gone and fought,” Cavalaro said. He wanted to highlight the WWII wall with 1,362 names, including some listed next to a gold star, signifying someone who had died in combat.

“This was intended to preserve the memories of those who fought and served in our armed forces,” Cavallaro said.

The open house operates from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays.

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