Vietnam Vet is Citizen of the Month

By Jared Castañeda
Posted 9/19/23

The Town of Montgomery’s September 12 board meeting highlighted exceptional residents, community events and public concerns for ongoing developments.

The board opened the meeting by …

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Vietnam Vet is Citizen of the Month


The Town of Montgomery’s September 12 board meeting highlighted exceptional residents, community events and public concerns for ongoing developments.

The board opened the meeting by nominating residents Patricia Zang-DeClue and John Luffman as the July and August citizens of the month. Zang-DeClue was in the hospital at the time, however, and could not accept her award in person.

“I gave it to her husband; she’s supposed to be getting out of the hospital in a couple of days or so. Our wishes are with her,” said Town Supervisor Ronald Feller.

Luffman, a Vietnam War veteran and former NYPD officer, is a prominent community member who has supported and raised money for veterans over the last decade.

“John has been an incredible supporter of veterans, and since joining the Maybrook Post of 2064 VFW in 2009, he has hit the ground running…he’s been an active volunteer and supports many activities and organizations, including the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, Wreaths Across America, and the Hudson Valley Honor Flight,” Feller said.

“John has also been instrumental in selling several million dollars worth of Shoprite cards over the past generation, which has given thousands of dollars of proceeds to the veterans, donated to local and national charities,” he continued.

The board also motioned a moment of silence for Mary Devitt, a resident who passed away on September 10. Feller mentioned that “she’s part of a great family.”

During public comment, resident Jane Fiero voiced concerns about teenage bikers who have been speeding, revving and performing wheelies in her neighborhood.

“They’re vehicles that shouldn’t be on the road in front of my house; they’re pulling wheelies right in front of a car that’s driving behind them. I don’t even want to watch them,” Fiero said, adding that she called the police but they did not investigate.

Feller affirmed that the board recently dealt with similar occurrences in town and will notify Police Chief John Hank to look into these stunts. He recommended that Fiero take pictures and continue calling the police, and advised residents to ensure their children’s safety when riding their bikes.

“If you have a child or kid, and you know he’s out there, just for his own sake, make him wear a helmet, make him go to a field,” Feller said.

Dinosaur park
Karen Fancher, another resident, asked if the board will hold public hearings or allow residents to vote on the proposed dinosaur park project.

“Will there be public information nights and opportunities to vote? To have a voice about the dinosaur park? Or is it just going to move to the planning board and they’ll decide with no input from the community?” Fancher asked, adding that many residents she’s spoken to either don’t know about the project or oppose it.

Feller assured that the planning will hold public hearings for the dinosaur park and provide information to residents in the hearings and on the town’s website. Following this, Fancher criticized the town’s industrial growth and stated that Montgomery was no longer the same area it once was.

“It’s not Montgomery anymore. Our quality of life, the tone of this village, our property values are going to go down.

Nobody’s going to want to live here anymore. Wherever you look, there’s a big cement building, and they’re clearing land and they’re building another cement building…it’s obscene, in my view, to take this beautiful town and destroy it,” Fancher said.