SOMERS, N.Y. – Seventy senior citizens from around the county were honored at the 35th annual Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon on Dec. 1 at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown. Among them was Patrick Mulholland, a longtime resident of Somers who has devoted his life to helping veterans.

“It was really great,” he said of the induction. “We had a lot of friends and family there. It was a nice affair.”

Mulholland arrived in America from Canada in 1959 and was drafted two years later. His military career, spent largely at Fort Hood in Texas, saw him brush up against some of the most famous events of the early ’60s. For approximately nine days, he was deployed on a Navy ship during the blockade of Cuba in 1962 that began the Cuban Missile Crisis. Returning to Fort Hood, he finished his tour in 1963. En route to Fort Dix, N.J., to be discharged, he landed in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was shot. In 1967, Mulholland became an American citizen, a day he has cited as being among the proudest of his life.

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For 22 years, Mulholland worked for General Motors in Westchester, all the while devoting as much spare time as he could to helping veterans. In 1982, he co-founded the UAW Local 664 Veterans Committee and has served as its chairperson for the last 35 years. He’s also a 30-year volunteer at the Montrose VA Hospital and just recently participated in a winter coat drive for the VA. The drive is just one of many events Mulholland has organized on behalf of veterans.

Mulholland is also very active in helping wounded veterans, visiting them at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he presented them with backpacks containing toiletries.

“When you see these poor veterans and how they struggle,” he said. “It makes it easy to do this sort of thing. I wish everyone was more involved and more in tune with what’s happening to our veterans.”

He also is very active in his church, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Granite Springs.

“Between the church and veterans and taking care of my home, it’s like a full-time job,” he said with a laugh. “My wife always says, ‘You know you work as hard when you’re retired as you did when you were working!’ ”

In addition to all of his tireless efforts on behalf of veterans, Mulholland has earned the affectionate nickname, “The Flag Man,” due to the fact that, wherever he is, he ensures that a flag is flying. And, he says, he takes strong measures to ensure that the flag is always properly taken care of. Moments before he spoke to The Somers Record, he noted that he was busy replacing the flag on the clubhouse in the Florida community where he spends part of his time.

“It really bothers me when the flag is damaged or when people are flying it and it’s all ripped,” he said. “I can see if it’s on a battlefield, but on the front lawn it should be in decent shape!”

For all of his accomplishments, however, Mulholland remains humble.

“I’m very honored to have received this award,” he said, “but at the same time, there’s always someone else who deserves it just as much as I do, or even more.”