A Day at the Spa: Treatments in Northern New York vary in healing, health and simple pampering

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY MAGAZINES Jennifer Bach, owner of River Day Spa and Salon in Clayton, enjoys a facial at her salon on Riverside Drive overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

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Opening ceremony held for new Celine G. Philibert Memorial Cultural Centre and Museum in Massena

BOB BECKSTEAD / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS Ambassadors from the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce joined with officials in cutting the ribbon on Thursday to officially open the new Celine G. Philibert Memorial Cultural Centre and Museum in Massena.

BOB BECKSTEAD / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS
Ambassadors from the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce joined with officials in cutting the ribbon on Thursday to officially open the new Celine G. Philibert Memorial Cultural Centre and Museum in Massena.

By BOB BECKSTEAD
BBECKSTEAD@OGD.COM

Visitors got their first look at the exhibits in the new Celine G. Philibert Memorial Cultural Centre and Museum during the facility’s opening ceremony Thursday.

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, speakers thanked the many people who had contributed to it — from the Massena Town Board and town of Massena employees, to the Massena Museum’s staff, volunteers and board members, to Carol and Dick Maginn and Heritage Homes for taking on the renovations of the building at no cost to the town, to local attorney Randy L. Peets, the principal donor who set the project in motion.

The facility is named in honor of Dr. Philibert, a native of France who came to the north country to work at SUNY Potsdam and settled in Massena with Mr. Peets. After she lost her battle with cancer, Mr. Peets sought a way to honor the woman he had shared his life with, as well as her love of art and culture, and chose to fund the purchase of the former SeaComm building for cultural purposes in her memory. He then donated the building to the town to use as a cultural center and the new home of the Massena Museum.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Randy Peets for the donation of this beautiful building and for our ability to house the museum at this cultural center,” museum board President Joseph Macaulay said.

“It’s a great facility obviously. We are fortunate to have this facility,” Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said.

He said town officials had a significant investment in the building, between $20,000 and $30,000 in materials and manpower to make the building the permanent home of the Massena Historical Society. Without the help of Mr. and Mrs. Maginn and Heritage Homes, the project would have taken much longer and would have been at a greater expense, according to Mr. Gray.

“This facility now belongs to the people of Massena,” he said.

Mr. Gray encouraged visitors to take an initial look at the exhibits, and then go back and look at them again to gain a better understanding of Massena’s past.

“You’re going to get an excellent history of Massena,” he said.

The cultural centre and museum features not only permanent, but temporary exhibitions, and the first temporary exhibit seen by visitors as they walk through the doors is from the Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg.

Mr. Peets said he had contacted Laura Foster, director and curator for the Frederic Remington Art Museum, to see if they would like to have the first temporary exhibit, and the answer was yes. Now, two items from the museum are on display in the center of the new facility.

“It’s a teaser which can be enjoyed on its own,” Ms. Foster said, encouraging visitors to travel up Route 37 to visit the museum and see more of the work.

BOB BECKSTEAD / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS Massena Town Councilman Sam Carbone looks at one of the exhibits during Thursday’s opening ceremony for the new Celine G. Philibert Memorial Cultural Centre and Museum in Massena.

BOB BECKSTEAD / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS
Massena Town Councilman Sam Carbone looks at one of the exhibits during Thursday’s opening ceremony for the new Celine G. Philibert Memorial Cultural Centre and Museum in Massena.

In the meantime, they’ll be able to enjoy some of it in Massena.

“It has been really wonderful working with a philanthropist of vision, Randy Peets,” Ms. Foster said, calling it “an opportunity for Massena to strike out in a new geographical direction.”

Mr. Peets said he was also proud of historical murals that decorate the walls, courtesy of the New York Power Authority.

“The murals are perfect for this building. I love these murals,” he said, detailing their history back to the time of Robert Moses and their association with the man who played a larger role in shaping the physical environment of New York state.

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell said she was impressed with the new facility, which formerly housed SeaComm Federal Credit Union’s downtown branch.

“Walking into this room, the thing that came to mind was the sense of treasure,” she said.

Standing near Remington exhibit, she said the cultural centre and museum was not only a place to reflect on Massena’s heritage, but also a link to Massena’s future.

“It really is a place that links Massena to the rest of the north country,” Mrs. Russell said, calling Massena “a community where the arts have flourished.”

Town Historian MaryEllen Casselman said it had taken a lot of work and time to move from their former East Orvis street location to the Main Street facility, but it was worth it.

She said among the exhibits visitors would find is a timeline of Massena’s history, starting around 1792 and working up to the Seaway era. There will also be rotating exhibits in the Dick and Carol Maginn wing of the building.

“You can expect to see various things here,” she said.

Mr. Macaulay said they were hopeful to add another exhibit, but they didn’t currently have the space. They want to display a hearse and a sleigh that was built in Massena, and they hope to have a 30-foot-by-30-foot extension built for those items.

Twelve teams compete in first town of Massena Big Bass Blowout

BOB BECKSTEAD / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS J.M. Landry and Lynn Gervais get their bass ready for weigh-in during Sunday’s Big Bass Blowout at the Massena Intake. The heaviest bass they caught was 4.88 pounds, and their total weight for all the bass brought in was 19.96 pounds.

BOB BECKSTEAD / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS
J.M. Landry and Lynn Gervais get their bass ready for weigh-in during Sunday’s Big Bass Blowout at the Massena Intake. The heaviest bass they caught was 4.88 pounds, and their total weight for all the bass brought in was 19.96 pounds.

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Benefit motorcycle run organizer passing the torch after 17 years

Seventeen years ago, Roger “Porky” Willmart, Linda Willmart and their family and friends organized their first motorcycle run to benefit Hospice and Palliative Care of the St. Lawrence Valley as a thank you for the care they provided for his parents. [Read more…]

Lead pastors at New Testament Church, Massena, meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican

The Rev. Don Curry and Mary Curry, lead pastors at New Testament Church in Massena, were part of a group that met with Pope Francis last month at the Vatican. Submitted Photo.

The Rev. Don Curry and Mary Curry, lead pastors at New Testament Church in Massena, were part of a group that met with Pope Francis last month at the Vatican. Submitted Photo.

The lead pastors at New Testament Church, Massena, were among a group of individuals who had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican last month. [Read more…]

Boston-area book supplier comes through for school book fair

J.W. Leary Junior High School eighth-graders in Massena peruse the titles that were available at a book fair that almost didn’t happen. After the school’s regular supplier was unable to deliver books on time, officials turned to Best Book Fairs, Woburn, Mass., who were able to deliver 600 books the following day. Photo by Bob Beckstead, Watertown Daily Times.

J.W. Leary Junior High School eighth-graders in Massena peruse the titles that were available at a book fair that almost didn’t happen. After the school’s regular supplier was unable to deliver books on time, officials turned to Best Book Fairs, Woburn, Mass., who were able to deliver 600 books the following day. Photo by Bob Beckstead, Watertown Daily Times.

A book supplier from the Boston area came to the rescue at the very last minute when the regular supplier for the J.W. Leary Junior High School’s book sale fundraiser wasn’t able to make the delivery on schedule. [Read more…]

Spring 2016 Cover Story: Star Students

Service Above Self

IHC student Makenzie Kramer was a member of the Northern New York Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council last school year. The council awarded a grant to Children’s Miracle Network at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, to purchase new activity books for children at the hospital. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNy Living.

IHC student Makenzie Kramer was a member of the Northern New York Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council last school year. The council awarded a grant to Children’s Miracle Network at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, to purchase new activity books for children at the hospital. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

North country students are making a big impact in their schools and communities for the good of others

By Norah Machia, NNY Living

An increasing number of young people nationwide are choosing to volunteer their time and energy to help people in their own communities. Although the statistics may vary, many publications have reported that teenage volunteerism continues to be on the rise.

It’s no secret to parents and teachers that volunteer work can help students develop important character traits, including respect and compassion for others. And students themselves appear to be drawing the same conclusion. According to the AmeriCorps program, teenagers are twice as likely to volunteer now compared with the past few decades.

The north country is no exception. Every school district in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties has examples of students who have a strong passion for helping others. Here are just a few:

Makenzie L. Kramer, 17
Immaculate Heart Central School

After joining the Youth Philanthropy Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation last year, Makenzie L. Kramer gained a real appreciation for the financial struggles of nonprofit agencies.

“It was an eye-opener, I didn’t know what went on behind the scenes as far as funding,” said Makenzie, the daughter of Dr. Lawrence and Anne Kramer.

Makenzie was one of several students who served on the foundation’s council and, along with other members, she heard presentations from agencies seeking funding for a variety of causes.

“It was a great opportunity to try and help as many people as possible,” Makenzie said. “Many of these agencies are trying to serve the people who have the greatest needs.”

Last year, the NNY Community Foundation organized four youth philanthropy councils at Immaculate Heart Central, Watertown High School, Potsdam Central School and Ogdensburg Free Academy. Each was responsible for awarding $10,000 in grant funding, totaling $40,000 in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

The council at IHC had awarded a variety of grants, including to local food banks (for purchase of personal care items), the Flower Memorial Library (for children and teen programming) and the Watertown Urban Mission (to set up a donation shed in the Carthage area).

A grant was also given to the Children’s Miracle Network at Samaritan Medical Center to purchase new activity books for children in the pediatric unit. The books have disposable pens that can be used to scratch off colors in the pictures.

This was a better option than traditional coloring books and crayons, because children can’t share crayons due to the risk of spreading germs, Makenzie said.

The IHC junior has also volunteered to spend time with elderly residents at Samaritan’s Summit Village, helping with outdoor visits, games, and even making ice cream floats.

“It really makes the residents so happy to have someone to visit them,” she said.

Makenzie has volunteered through the Faith-Based Community Service program at IHC, raking leaves for the elderly and holding bingo games for residents of nursing homes.

She is involved with the school’s Respect Life Initiative, which is presently raising money to help construct an all-girls school in Tanzania.

“We’re trying to raise money to help them build dorms,” she said. “We are also planning on corresponding with those students in the future.”

Makenzie and two friends, Macee Fay and Katey Kellogg, have also started a “She’s the First” chapter at their school to raise money to support girls in third world countries who want to be the first in their family to get a college education.

In addition to all her volunteer efforts, she was also a member of the IHC tennis team last fall and the lacrosse team this spring.

Makenzie, who is hoping to follow in her father’s footsteps one day and become a pulmonologist, also has a brother, Nicholas, 18, a pre-med student at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.

“I’m really interested in becoming a doctor because I want to help people,” said Makenzie, who has been following efforts of nonprofit organizations such as “Doctors without Borders” to help those who need medical care in third-world countries.

Romi LaClair, 12
South Jefferson Central Schools

South Jefferson Central School District student Romi LaClair, Watertown, created the “Cleats for Feet” organization to collect and distribute cleats to other north country children who cannot afford them. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Living.

South Jefferson Central School District student Romi LaClair, Watertown, created the “Cleats for Feet” organization to collect and distribute cleats to other north country children who cannot afford them. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Living.

During a league soccer practice in the fall of 2014, Romi LaClair noticed a few other players were slipping and falling on the field because they didn’t have the proper footwear — a pair of cleats.

She came home from practice that day, and still upset about the situation, she started rummaging through her family’s garage, looking for any pairs of cleats that were no longer being used by her or her two siblings. She wanted to donate them to the other players in the league.

That’s how Romi’s “Cleats for Feet” was launched, a project that has resulted in the donation of hundreds of gently worn cleats for students participating in soccer, football, baseball and softball leagues, and school sports teams.

To date, more than 100 pairs of cleats have been provided to students in the South Jefferson, Belleville/Henderson, Sackets Harbor, and Indian River Central School Districts, and the Watertown City School District.

Romi’s parents, Dr. Scott LaClair and K.I. LaClair, along with her siblings, Hunter, 15, and Ruby, 10, have given their support for the project. She has also received help from many others in the community.

Romi started collecting and distributing cleats through sign-up sessions held by Eastern Shore Soccer, Pop Warner Football and Little League teams.

“All the coaches have been very helpful with this project,” she said.

“Cleats for Feet” is not only for students whose parents may not be able to afford cleats, but it’s also for students whose parents would rather swap out cleats then buy new ones each year as their children’s feet grow. That effort is also helping keep excess textile waste out of the landfills.

The donated cleats must be in “gently used” condition, and they’re cleaned up before being redistributed.

The Watertown Fairgrounds YMCA staff have assisted with the “Cleats for Feet” effort, as they have many students who pass through their doors at the Fairgrounds YMCA for sports leagues, Romi said. The staff have helped to both collect and distribute cleats.

Steve Rowell, YMCA Health and Wellness director, and Schreene Babcock, YMCA volunteer coordinator, have been very supportive of her efforts, Romi said.

Recently, a donation of new football cleats was also made at the end of the season by Dick’s Sporting Goods, she added.

“It makes me feel really good to be able to help people this way,” Romi said.

Romi has also volunteered her time for the Rohde Community Center in Adams, and serves as the manager for the South Jefferson Central School varsity girls lacrosse team.

Her “Cleats for Feet” project was even given a boost by former Watertown City Manager Mary M. Corriveau. During her acceptance speech earlier this year for the Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award, Mrs. Corriveau refereed to Romi’s project as an example of future community volunteerism, and distributed business cards with contact information at the award dinner.

Anyone interested in donating or receiving cleats through the “Cleats for Feet” program can text or call Mrs. LaClair at 778-6533. Or check out the Facebook page: Facebook.com/cleatsforfeetNY

Tyler D. Eddy, 17
Harrisville Central School

Harrisville Central School District senior Tyler Eddy, 17, is involved with his school’s Environmental Club, and the Adopt-a-Highway Program in Lewis County. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Harrisville Central School District senior Tyler Eddy, 17, is involved with his school’s Environmental Club, and the Adopt-a-Highway Program in Lewis County. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Volunteering to help other people is “actually a way of helping out myself,” said Tyler D. Eddy, a senior at Harrisville Central School.

“My happiness is other people’s happiness,” Tyler said. “I’m always cheerful, and trying to make other people smile. That’s probably why I was voted class clown.”

In 10th grade, Tyler was asked to join the Lewis County Youth Advisory Council, which was established in 1997. The council includes government, non-government, and student representatives from across Lewis County. Members meet regularly to make recommendations to the Lewis County Board of Legislators, along with county departments, regarding services for youth.

“We have so much money per year, and we have to vote on the different programs that will get funded,” Tyler said.

Tyler, who plans to pursue a career in electrical engineering, is the son of Mark and Joanne Eddy of Harrisville. Mr. Eddy is a retired corrections officer and Mrs. Eddy is a bank teller at Community Bank. He also has an older brother, Jacob, 22, Harrisville.

The youth advisory board has approved funding for a variety of programs, including summer recreation and after-school programs at Harrisville Central. The programs offer numerous options for elementary age children, such as activities in the gym, reading, or computer lab, Tyler said.

Tyler has also volunteered for programs sponsored by the youth bureau, including the Homeless Christmas Tree Initiative and National Night Out.

He is also a member of the National Honor Society, the Adopt-a-Highway Program and the Environmental Club, whose members are planning to pick-up trash along Route 3 in the Town of Diana.

“We’re hoping to go from one border of the town across to the other border,” he said.

Tyler has also been active in school sports, having played both soccer and basketball. Last year, he served as score keeper for the basketball games, and this past season, he has volunteered to help set up and take down the gym between games. He also enjoys running, reading, video games, hunting and fishing.

Rachel E. Leach, 17
South Lewis Central School

Rachel Leach, 17, plays alto saxophone in her school band and volunteers to play with the Lowville Village Band. She the senior class Technical Honor Award winner this year at South Lewis Central School, Turin. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Rachel Leach, 17, plays alto saxophone in her school band and volunteers to play with the Lowville Village Band. She the senior class Technical Honor Award winner this year at South Lewis Central School, Turin. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Living.

Rachel Leach has a love of music, and shares that passion with others in her community.

The high school senior plays the alto saxophone in her school band, and has performed as a member of the Bi-County Band for Jefferson and Lewis counties. She recently started to play the tenor saxophone as well.

A few years ago, Rachel decided to join the Lowville Village Band, giving her the opportunity to gain more experience. But even more important, it has given her the chance to share her love of music with the community.

Village band members volunteer their time to perform at numerous events throughout Lewis County, including the annual Cream Cheese Festival held each summer in Lowville.
Rachel’s future plans include studying music in college.

“I’m planning to earn a doctorate degree and become a music professor,” she said.

In addition to her musical interests, Rachel has spent much of her time volunteering for environmental causes in her community. In the process, she has developed a strong interest in recycling and organic gardening.

Rachel is president of her school’s environmental club, “Students Against a Vanishing Environment.” Some of their work starts within their own school building.

“We regularly collect paper, bags, cans and bottles in the classrooms,” she said. “We have a truck that comes to the school to pick up all the recyclables.”

Rachel is the senior class Technical Honor Award winner this year at South Lewis Central School, Turin. She is enrolled in the culinary arts program through Jefferson-Lewis BOCES and is the daughter of Lisa Baxter, Port Leyden. She has an older sister, Rebecca Roberts, 20, Boonville.

As secretary of the National Honor Society, she has also volunteered her time for the Lyons Falls Alive River Clean-up. As part of a government class, Rachel has participated in service projects at the Humane Society and the WPBS Public Television Station, Watertown.

Rachel also has a strong interest in organic farming, and spent the past two summers volunteering at the Maris Farm community garden in Constableville, where she and several others have grown vegetables for the local food pantries.

“I’m very interested in promoting fresh produce that is not sprayed with harsh chemicals,” she said. “If you grow it yourself, you know it hasn’t been sprayed.”

Jack P. Kelly, 17
Ogdensburg Free Academy

Ogdensburg Free Academy students Abigail Marshall, left, and Jack Kelly hold pajamas outside Abigail’s house. Jack has been a big supporter of the “PJs 4 Xmas” program started by Abigail and her sister. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Living.

Ogdensburg Free Academy students Abigail Marshall, left, and Jack Kelly hold pajamas outside Abigail’s house. Jack has been a big supporter of the “PJs 4 Xmas” program started by Abigail and her sister. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Living.

One of the biggest challenges that Jack P. Kelly faced when he served on the Youth Philanthropy Council of the Northern New York Community Foundation was deciding which nonprofit agencies would receive funding, he said.

“There were more agencies requesting money than we could select,” Jack said. “It was a tough choice, everyone had a strong message to share.”

After listening to presentations and reading through paperwork, the students decided that funding should be directed to “the projects we felt were most important in the community,” he said.

Jack advocated for one of those projects. “PJs 4 Xmas,” to receive grant money through the OFA chapter of the Youth Philanthropy Council. His classmate, Abigail Marshall, and her sister, Camille Marshall, had started the project in 2009 as a way to ensure that needy children in St. Lawrence County would wake up with new pajamas on Christmas morning.

In 2012, the Ogdensburg sisters were able to turn their organization into a certified nonprofit, delivering more than 1,760 pairs of pajamas to children across the county that year.

The sisters were even able to use a converted FedEx truck they purchased for $1,000 to deliver the pajamas to several community organizations in Heuvelton, Canton and Ogdensburg.

“I really felt their message of helping less fortunate kids at Christmas,” said Jack, a high school junior.

He was also impressed that the sisters, one of whom was his age, were so successful in “making a difference in their community.”

Jack, who is interested in becoming a general practitioner, is the son of Jeff Kelly, information technology director at Canton Central School, and Andrea Kelly, real estate broker with Bruyere Chadwick Realty LLC. He has two younger siblings, Connor, 14, and Caitlin, 11.

He is also a member of Key Club, and through that organization he and other students have been volunteering to preserve and maintain the Kids Kingdom playground, a large wooden playground in Morissette Park.

Jack has also volunteered to maintain the Maple City Trail, a local walking and jogging trail, and has helped with the annual “Lights on the River” fundraiser held during the holidays.

At OFA, Jack is a member of the football, hockey and lacrosse teams.

Marc Tessier, 16
Massena Central School

Marc Tessier has been volunteering at the Massena Neighborhood Center for the past seven years. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Living.

Marc Tessier has been volunteering at the Massena Neighborhood Center for the past seven years. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Living.

One day when Marc Tessier was volunteering at the food pantry operated out the Massena Neighborhood Center, he paused to take a look at all the canned fruit being distributed to needy individuals and families.

“I thought to myself, we could give them something better,” said Marc, a junior at Massena Central School.

Marc had already been involved in a vegetable growing project for the food pantry, helping to plant tomatoes, cabbage and cauliflower. But he wanted to take it one step further and try planting fruit trees.

He planted 10 apple trees and 10 pear trees on land next to the neighborhood center, which is one of several operated with assistance from the St. Lawrence County Community Development Program.

The CDP is a private, nonprofit agency that offers assistance throughout St. Lawrence County, including neighborhood centers, Head Start preschool programs, and weatherization services.

It was incorporated in 1965 to help low-income families work toward self-sufficiency. The agency encourages community participation in many of its programs.

It was two years ago that Marc planted those fruit trees, and he has returned each season to maintain them. This is the first spring that the apple trees are starting to yield fruit, Marc said.

“I really thought it would be better to offer people fresh fruit rather than canned,” he said.

Marc is the son of Michael and Elaine Tessier, Massena. He is planning to enter the automotive field after high school graduation.

In addition to helping stock shelves and distribute food at the neighborhood center, he has also volunteered to deliver boxes of food during the holiday season to residents who are not able to drive to the center.

“I really enjoy volunteering,” said Marc. “I know what I’m doing will really help someone out. That’s a good feeling.”

Marc is also a member of his school’s robotics team and the rifle team.

Norah Machia is a freelance writer who lives in Watertown. She is a 20-year veteran journalist and former Watertown Daily Times reporter. Contact her at norahmachia@gmail.com

Law officers prepare for Ogdensburg to Massena Torch Run

Representatives of area police agencies join Special Olympics athletes and local officials for an official Torch Run kickoff event in front of Ogdensburg City Hall on Tuesday. The Torch Run between Ogdensburg and Massena on April 29 will help launch the Special Olympics at SUNY Canton on April 30. Photo by Larry Robinson, Watertown Daily Times.

Representatives of area police agencies join Special Olympics athletes and local officials for an official Torch Run kickoff event in front of Ogdensburg City Hall on Tuesday. The Torch Run between Ogdensburg and Massena on April 29 will help launch the Special Olympics at SUNY Canton on April 30. Photo by Larry Robinson, Watertown Daily Times.

Representatives from area law enforcement agencies gathered in front of City Hall on Tuesday to raise public awareness for the upcoming Special Olympics competition to be held at SUNY Canton April 30. [Read more…]

Jefferson Elementary students participate in community outreach through after-school program

Autumn Mauer, 11, uses a Singer sewing machine to make a quilt Wednesday during Jefferson Kids Care, a Jefferson Elementary School group that meets once a week to make blankets for veterans, nursing homes and other organizations at the Massena school. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

Autumn Mauer, 11, uses a Singer sewing machine to make a quilt Wednesday during Jefferson Kids Care, a Jefferson Elementary School group that meets once a week to make blankets for veterans, nursing homes and other organizations at the Massena school. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

On any given Wednesday during the school year, the art room at Jefferson Elementary School is buzzing after school with the whir of sewing machines and students hand sewing, knitting or ironing out wrinkles on quilts they’ve stitched with loving care. [Read more…]

Helena man receives Purple Heart from Stefanik during ceremony in Massena

U.S. Rep Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, left, presents a Purple Heart to Jason Mauldin, Helena, Tuesday during a ceremony at the Massena American Legion. Also pictured is his daughter, Makayla, 5, and his son, Ryan, 7. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

U.S. Rep Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, left, presents a Purple Heart to Jason Mauldin, Helena, Tuesday during a ceremony at the Massena American Legion. Also pictured is his daughter, Makayla, 5, and his son, Ryan, 7. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

On Oct. 27, 2010, Army Sgt. Jason Mauldin, a member of the 10th Mountain Division, turned 35 years old while on duty in Afghanistan. And, on that night, he also earned a Purple Heart. [Read more…]