Jerry Donnellan, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and longtime leader of the Rockland County veterans community, has passed away. Donnellan had a 30-year run as director of the Rockland County Veterans Service Agency, retiring toward the end of 2017 for health reasons.
Donnellan was credited with helping to vitalize the county’s Vietnam veterans community in the 1980s, playing a role in several institutions and helping to create the annual Memorial Day watchfires tradition. There is no doubt Donnellan was widely known and respected across Rockland County among veterans and non-veterans alike.
For several years Donnellan had been a regular contributor to the Rockland County Times. His most recent submission was published only days ago on Thursday, March 22. It can be read here: Slurs against national anthem don’t square with reality.
There will be many memoriums for Donnellan to come. County Executive Day made a public statement following news of Donnellan’s death on Friday, March 23. Day said:
“The tragic news of Jerry Donnellan’s passing is a shock. He was a hero, a three-time Purple Heart recipient and Vietnam War Veteran who served as a positive example to returning service members that they could live productive lives; even if they suffered devastating injuries as he did. Jerry gave tirelessly to this county and this country. He spent 30 years as Director of Rockland’s Veterans Agency and his contributions will not soon be forgotten. As Director Jerry started the annual watchfires every Memorial Day, oversaw the creation of the county’s first satellite Veteran’s Administration health clinic, located in New City and worked to educate veterans and their families to educate them about post-traumatic stress disorder. His loss is not only a grievous loss for me personally and our veterans, but also for the entire community of Rockland. Our deepest condolences and unwavering support to his wife Mariellyn and his entire family. He will be sorely missed.”