The Nassau County Veterans Service Agency has a new director as of now, the Press has learned.
Michael Kilbride, who’d been at the agency for more than a decade, has taken the place of Pat Yngstrom, the acting director, who has just retired. Yngstrom, 61, had been the director under former County Executive Tom Gulotta from 2001 to 2002. Then when Tom Suozzi replaced Gulotta, he made Ed Aulman the director, and Yngstrom became his deputy director.
Yngstrom told the February meeting of the United Veterans Organization of Nassau that he was not offered the directorship under County Executive Ed Mangano and was leaving the agency. Mangano had replaced Aulman with Matthew Rufano, who is now the veterans counselor at the Town of Oyster Bay after having to leave the agency director job for health reasons last year.
No official announcement has been made by the county executive’s office. Yngstrom, reached by the Press, had no comment.
“Long Island has lost an asset that I believe is darn close to irreplaceable,” says Walt Schmidt, a veteran service officer for the Town of Oyster Bay.
Schmidt, a tetraplegic Vietnam veteran, credits Yngstrom with getting him his first motorized wheel chair after he’d been home-bound for nine months in 2002 as well as making him aware of all the Veterans Administration benefits to which he was entitled.
“Of all the groups that have all the words about doing all the things they say, if it wasn’t Pat Yngstrom, I don’t know when I would have gotten out of my house,” says Schmidt. “Pat said something like, ‘Can I come out there today or do I have to wait until tomorrow?’ Pat’s the guy who got me started on my second life, so to speak!
“Too many people are willing to help a veteran as long as their fingernails don’t get dirty,” Schmidt says. Not so with Yngstrom. “It could be raining, snowing or hailing and sleeting and he’d be there helping.”
The Nassau Veterans Service Agency is expected to have a “stand down” for veterans this spring or early summer at the American Legion Hall in Hempstead.