Vets and police honored at veteran’s hospital ceremony

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Farewell: Metropolitan Transportation Authority and NYPD Chief Ray Diaz, who received two Purple Hearts for his combat service in Vietnam, received a formal farewell at the event.
State of the art: Dennis Kyvik, owner of the Brooklyn Art Corporation, a gallery and framing store in Bay Ridge, donated “America’s Military and Dependents Parade” to the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Fun times: Veterans Alan Bell and Curtis Brown enjoyed the festivities.
Take me out to the ball game: Brooklyn Cyclones mascot Sandy visited veterans Nick Spano and Isaac Klayman.

They’re true American patriots.

Military veterans and city police chiefs gathered on Wednesday at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Fort Hamilton for the Veterans’ Salute, an event honoring members of the military and police force for their service. By all measures, the event was a roaring success, according to the event’s principal organizer.

“We had a wonderful ceremony,” said James Faraguna, an attorney and veteran. “It was awesome, and we had a huge crowd.”

Faraguna, who is heavily involved with the Veterans Administration Medical Center, got the idea to create the event after his friend, who owns a Bay Ridge gallery and framing store, donated an army-themed lithograph, or fine art print, to the veterans’ hospital’s recreation room, which vets term the “clubhouse.”

Dennis Kyvik owns the Brooklyn Art Corporation and donated the lithograph, entitled “America’s Military and Dependents Parade,” by artist Carl Braude. He said he was happy to honor the veterans and police by contributing the artwork.

“I always try to donate something to the veterans, as much as I can, and they give a lot, so we’re just giving a little back to them,” Kyvik said. “If this makes them happy, I’m glad.”

When Faraguna heard about the donation, he decided it was worthy of celebration, and would make a nice backdrop to an event honoring Ray Diaz, former chief of the NYPD Transit Bureau and retiring director of security for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, who also received two Purple Hearts for wounds he recieved during his combat service in Vietnam.

Attendees sang “America the Beautiful” after kicking off the event with the pledge of allegiance. They also enjoyed an American flag-themed cake.

The Veterans Administration Medical Center holds periodic events honoring the veterans, Faraguna said.

The Brooklyn Cyclones’ mascot, Sandy the Seagull, also made an appearance, and handed out hats and tickets to the team’s Aug. 29 game against the Vermont Lake Monsters at MCU Park in Coney Island. The game will take place on the team’s Military Appreciation Night, and will also feature fireworks.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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