Questar III Board President Nadine Gazzola (left) and District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz (right) pose with to retired Command Sergeant Major Gary Flaherty and his wife Mariette Flaherty.

Questar III BOCES Board President Nadine Gazzola presented the 21st Annual G. Lucius Cary Leadership Service Award to retired Command Sergeant Major Gary Flaherty at Questar III’s Annual Meeting on April 10, 2024.

The G. Lucius Cary Award is given in recognition of outstanding leadership and contributions through volunteer service – reflective of the values and beliefs of Questar III. The award, which is Questar III’s highest honor, is named for former BOCES board member, G. Lucius Cary.

Mr. Flaherty served in the U.S. Army for more than 23 years, rising through the ranks from Private to the highest enlisted rank, and retiring as Command Sergeant Major. His duty assignments included Germany, Vietnam, and Korea. One of his career highlights was serving as a member of the White House Task Force on transitioning from a draft Army to the current all volunteer Army. He was cited in 1971 for entering the Draft Board and removing a live hand grenade that Vietnam protesters had thrown through a window.

Mr. Flaherty, who previously served as the Canaan town supervisor, holds a commendable record of service to his community. This includes walking 100 miles (57 on crutches) to raise funds to build a monument to Clinton County military personnel killed in Vietnam. In recognition of his outstanding military service, Mr. Flaherty received a Direct Commission and, upon retiring, held dual status as Command Sergeant Major and Captain.

Since 2013 he has served as the director of the Columbia County Veterans Service, where he has dedicated himself to assisting nearly 6,000 veterans and their families. Among Mr. Flaherty’s most treasured successes are his agency’s PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Support, which supports veterans facing the challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and depression as well as a widow program and equine therapy program.

“We are honored and humbled to recognize Command Sergeant Major Gary Flaherty for his outstanding leadership, sacrifice, and community involvement. Thank you for continuing to give back to veterans and their families,” said Dr. Gladys I. Cruz, Questar III BOCES District Superintendent.

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