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County Division of Veterans Services Director Nelson Eddy Rivera Retires

Published: 1/29/2018

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Colleen Pillus

Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announced the retirement of Dutchess County Division of Veterans Services Director Nelson Eddy Rivera. Mr. Rivera served Dutchess County for 19 years, including the past 14 years as Veterans Services Director.

County Executive Molinaro said, “For almost two decades, Nelson Eddy Rivera has faithfully served veterans who call Dutchess County home. Always a vocal advocate for his fellow veterans, Nelson has worked tirelessly to ensure the men and women who have bravely sacrificed in service to their country receive the benefits they have earned. Nelson is a leader throughout New York, recognized for his dedication, having provided compassion and an unparalleled level of service to Dutchess County’s veterans.”

Mr. Rivera served 20 years in the United States Navy before beginning his career with Dutchess County Government in 1999 as Deputy Director for the Department of Veterans Services.    In 2004, he was appointed as Director of Veterans Services by former County Executive William R. Steinhaus.

As Director, Mr. Rivera has been responsible for informing, advising, and assisting veterans, service personnel and their families with the benefits they are entitled to from the federal, state and county government.    He has logged countless hours of outreach, seeking out the needs and concerns of area veterans.    He has been a tireless advocate for veterans and their families and has coordinated numerous initiatives and events to highlight veterans and their needs in the community.

Under Mr. Rivera’s leadership, the Dutchess County Division of Veterans Services has been committed to expanding the County’s outreach to local veterans with active participation in local community events and working with local veterans’ organizations. Mr. Rivera has been instrumental in organizing Dutchess County’s annual Veterans Appreciation Day in November and the County’s Memorial Day remembrances each May, as well as working with the Hudson Valley Renegades to host Hudson Valley Veterans Appreciation Day at Dutchess Stadium.

Other accomplishments include:

  • worked with New York State Senator Sue Serino to secure funding for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Outreach Program to help address issues faced by returning veterans living including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • assisted with the establishment of the Veterans Memorial Mile on the Dutchess Rail Trail;
  • coordinated the designation of the Dutchess County Veterans Memorial Highway along St. Andrews Road in Hyde Park;
  • established a satellite office at the VA Hudson Valley Care System Hospital at Castle Point and coordinated staff hours at the Dutchess Community College Veterans Resource Center;
  •  initiated, in conjunction with the Dutchess County Clerk’s Office, the Find and Assist Veterans of Record (F.A.V.O.R.) discount program, which identifies former members of the Armed Forces as a qualified and honorably discharged veteran and entitles them to discounts at some 200 local businesses.

Nelson Eddy Rivera has been recognized statewide for his commitment to veterans.  In 2012, he as honored as the Service Officer of the Year by the American Legion – Department of New York for his outstanding professional proficiency, superior advocacy skills and personal initiative, embodying the high standards of an accredited representative of the American Legion.

Mr. Rivera’s officially retired on January 27, 2018.    He and his wife Christina look forward to moving to Florida to be closer to family.   He plans to remain active in his volunteer work for veterans.

Director Rivera said, “I’ve been truly honored to work with the veterans of Dutchess County and help assure the courageous men and women who have selflessly protected our nation receive the services and programs their service affords them. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to perform such rewarding work every day. Dutchess County’s commitment to its veterans is unmatched, and I will greatly miss those with whom I worked – County Executive Molinaro, a tireless advocate for our veterans, and the devoted Veterans Services staff whose professionalism and enthusiasm for assisting others is unrivaled."