BEACON – More than 200 supporters attended the Beacon Historical Society’s sixth annual Beacons of History Awards on November 10. The award recognizes those who have made substantial contributions to Beacon and who have helped preserve its history and sense of community:
Melzingah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Founded in 1895 by Katherine Wolcott Verplanck, the Melzingah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is one of the most active DAR chapters in the country. He is known above all for his rescue from c. 1709 Madam Brett Homestead from demolition in 1954, when plans called for a supermarket to be built on the site; it is not only the home of our community’s first European settler, but also the oldest building in Dutchess County. In addition to operating the property as a house museum, the DAR chapter has long promoted local history, including its erection of the Mount Beacon monument in 1900 and the donation of the bust of George Washington in 1999. Members also volunteer at Castle Point VA Medical Center, organize Main Street banners to recognize veterans, conduct historical essay contests and complete other service work as part of a worldwide service organization committed to promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism.
Born at Highland Hospital in 1947, Tony was educated in Beacon City schools and was drafted into the Army as a combat engineer. In February 1969, Sgt. Lassiter was sent to Vietnam, where he was wounded by hostile forces six months later. Awarded a Purple Heart, he was honorably discharged in November. Tony later enjoyed a 30-year career at IBM, served as a sergeant with the Dutchess Co. Sheriff’s Office. and volunteered for 15 years on the Beacon Planning Board. He also volunteers with the City’s Housing Authority, as vice commander of the American Legion Post 203, quartermaster of the VFW (Military Order of the Purple Heart), treasurer of the Beacon Lions Club and with the St. Andrew’s/St. Luke’s Church Food Pantry and the Beacon Spirit Day Committee.
“As a special surprise at the event, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Jenks, on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, presented a special eulogy to Tony and 10 other veterans of the Vietnam at the hearing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War through a Department of Defense program that aims to properly welcome these men and women home decades after their return from the war,” said the Beacon Historical Society President Diane Lapis. “It was very moving and a wonderful testament to Beacon’s sense of community to see these men recognized.”
The event was a friend and fundraiser for the Historical Society. Special thanks are extended to the five Mount Beacon-wide sponsorships that ensured its success: City of Beacon Housing Authority, Art & Mary Lou Johnson, Karen & Denny Meyer, The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, and the VanBuren Family. The Beacon Historical Society was founded in 1976 to “preserve, procure and present all that may relate to the natural and cultural history” of Beacon. Its collection includes books, records, manuscripts, diaries, photographs, maps, genealogies, portraits, relics, letters, journals, etc., and its purpose remains to educate the public and foster awareness of Beacon’s history. Membership includes a monthly newsletter, at least eight special conferences each year, and other historical programs/conferences. Visit www.BeaconHistorical.org for more information.