Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
January 29, 2008 Issue
National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
Established 1891
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"The Wild Gardener"
Peter Loewer's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

"The Mouth That Roars"
Bill Liblick's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

"Inside Out"
Jeanne Sager's Weekly
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"Sullivan EMS Scene Sizeup"
James Vooght's Biweekly
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John Conway's Look Back at the History of Sullivan County

Sullivan Renaissance

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Contributed Photo

FRANCIS CURREY WAS honored in Hurleyville at Morningside Park last Sunday. Jacob DeGroat of Fallsburg, above, enjoys a hamburger. At right, fireworks brought the festivities to an end.

Honoring Francis Currey

By Andy Simek
HURLEYVILLE — July is a month for patriots.
This weekend marked the third annual Francis Currey Memorial Weekend, celebrated at Morningside Park in Hurleyville.
The two-day celebration started as a single day affair only four short years ago and began in honor of a Hurleyville resident whose bravery was lauded after the last great war.
But who is Francis Currey?
Why do we celebrate him, and how did this tradition start?
Currey is a war hero straight out of a John Wayne movie.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor upon returning to the United States after WWII for his courage during the Battle of the Bulge.
In the first of a series of likenesses they put out, Hasbro made a GI Joe action figure out of him. This line of specialty figures was followed by those of Generals Eisenhower and Patton.
Neil Gilberg, the current county clerk, first heard about Currey five years ago while he was still on the Fallsburg town board from a Hurleyville resident.
Gilberg was intrigued and immediately set out to find more information on this veteran.
Currey’s bravery during the war inspired him.
“I called Frank up, who was living in South Carolina at the time, and asked if he had ever been honored,” Gilberg said.
The answer was yes, he had indeed been celebrated for his duty… in 1945.
Gilberg added, “So then I said to him, ‘Well, I’ve never heard about you, my kids have never heard about you.’ And then I asked him if he wouldn’t mind coming back to Hurleyville for a day named in his honor.”
Currey, who spends his summers in nearby Selkirk, didn’t mind at all. Reportedly, Currey is the only WWII Medal of Honor recipient from New York State who is still alive.
Since that first parade, Francis Currey Day has celebrated not only one man’s bravery, but “all the veterans, from Yesterday and Today.”
Every year has had a different theme; this year’s festivities honored the men and women serving in Iraq.
While a lot of the weekend was fun-filled, with “a tremendous fireworks display,” food, music and other activities, there is also a somber quality to it.
Gilberg said, “This year Ryan Stigell spoke to the crowd. He’s a marine who just finished serving two tours of duty in Iraq. Besides the festivities, we do hold a nice military ceremony to honor those who have passed.”
Francis Currey Day has been such a big success, Gilberg says, that not only will it continue on next year but he is trying to designate the entire month of July as Veterans Memorial Month in Sullivan County.

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