BY BARRY WARNER
Our Unsung Hero of the week is Charlie Maushardt, a Vietnam War Veteran, the President of the Rockland County Nam Knights Motorcycle Club and recipient of the 1995-1996 Rockland County Veteran of the Year Award, plus a 2013 New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame honoree.
“The Nam Knights of Rockland County, established in 1998, is a 501C3 nonprofit motorcycle club consisting military veterans, law enforcement officers and firefighters who ride Harley Davidson motorcycles and are dedicated to honoring the memory of those who lost their lives during the Vietnam War and to assisting American veterans of all conflicts,” Charlie Maushardt told The Rockland County Times. “Our mission is to help those in need, whether it’s a child with cancer or an adult who needs help paying some bills.”
“The Nam Knights Hudson Valley chapter has raised and donated over $100,000 to local charitable causes,” Maushardt continued. “Some of the events hosted by the Nam Knights are food, clothing and toy drives benefitting People to People; the annual Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser; and the annual family benefit picnic. We also support and participate in watchfires, the Mount Moor Wreath Laying Observances, the Rockland County Law Enforcement and Brink’s Memorial ceremonies, as well as parades to benefit our community.”
Every Memorial Day, on the end of the Piermont pier or along the ridge of the Palisades, massive logs are piled nearly three stories high and are lit for 24 hours. They symbolically light the way home for those soldiers who have died in all wars and conflicts of the US. The Rockland County Vietnam Veterans started the tradition of watchfires on the pier in 1987. The use of watchfires originated with General George Washington, who would light bonfires along the ridgeline of the Palisades to warn his soldiers of the movements of the British Army in the Hudson Valley. He finally used them to signal the ceasefire and end of the Revolutionary War.
Charles ‘Charlie’ Maushardt is a life-long resident of Rockland County. Upon graduation from Tappan Zee High School in 1969, he joined the US Army. After basic training, he served in Vietnam from 1970-1971. For his service, he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and one Overseas Bar with Star.
Maushardt has been a member of several local veterans’ organizations including the Vietnam Veterans of America, serving as president from 1992-1994, the Raymond DeMeola VFW Post #1615 in Blauvelt and the John Perry American Legion Post #1044 in Sparkill. For his service to these organizations, Maushardt was honored by the Rockland County Veterans’ Coordinating Council as the 1995-1996 Rockland County Veteran of the Year.
The New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from New York who have distinguished themselves in both military and civilian life. Their meritorious service to the nation deserves the special recognition that only a Hall of Fame can provide as a fitting expression of gratitude and admiration. New York State Senator David Carlucci presented Maushardt with the 2013 recipient of the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame Award. “The Senate takes this opportunity to honor brave men and women who serve our nation and protect our freedom as members of the military,” Senator Carlucci said. “The Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame pays tribute to all who serve, so it’s only fitting and deserving that we recognize Charlie Maushardt for his selfless sacrifice to make his community a better place to live.”
The next Rockland County Nam Knights Motorcyle Club event is a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on April 28, 2018 from 1-6 p.m. at the Hillcrest Firehouse in Pomona. For additional information, call Charlie Maushardt at 845-359-4005.