The New York Army National Guard has honored four Greater Olean residents for their efforts in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support missions following the devastation caused by hurricanes.

All four received the Humanitarian Service Award:

  • Cpl. Caleb Peterson from Olean and Spc. Shawn O’Neill from Cuba served in Puerto Rico from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16, 2017. Peterson serves in the827th Engineer Company; O’Neill is a member of the 152nd Engineer Company.
  • Spc. Tyler Phillippi from Allegany served in the U.S. Virgin Islands from Oct. 25 to Nov. 23, 2017. He is a member of the 222nd Military Police Company of the New York Army National Guard.
  • Spc. Thomas Olver from Olean served in the U.S. Virgin Islands from Oct. 26 to Nov. 17, 2017. He also is a member of the 222nd Military Police Company of the New York Army National Guard.

"The support of our New York National Guard in the Caribbean following Hurricanes Irma and Maria was nothing short of exceptional, and our Soldiers are the reason for that success," said Major General Anthony P. German, the Adjutant General of New York.

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"Our Citizen Soldiers are used to responding here at home, so the effort to move troops and equipment to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands presented unique challenges. The presentation of the Humanitarian Service Medal is a great reflection of our Soldiers' commitment to serve others."

The Department of Defense approved the Humanitarian Service Medal on March 29 for soldiers who provided meritorious participation in operations of a humanitarian nature.

More than 400 Army National Guard Soldiers will be eligible to receive the award. Presentations will be made at the unit level at a future date.

The New York National Guard (New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs) is the state's executive agency responsible to the governor for managing New York's military forces, which consis of nearly 20,000 members of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Naval Militia and the New York Guard.