May 1, 2012

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A Home fit for a Hero By Catherine Sager

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band played a concert on Saturday at the Washington Avenue Armory to raise money for a hometown hero. Sinise gathered with a motorcade from the Village of Nassau in March. Sheriffs Deputies and State Police Officers, in coordinated assistance and support provided by Village of Nassau Police and emergency responders from throughout the County. From the Village Commons they traveled to the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany. There, elected officials, dignitaries, local politicians, in suits and ties, stood side by side with about 300 bikers from Rolling Thunder and Patriot Guard Riders, dressed in leather jackets, boots and bandanas to paid homage to one of our heroic veterans.

Wilkinson, a native of Lansingburgh, took part in the invasion of Iraq with Air Force Security Forces in 2003. Three years after he returned, his right leg started to give out.

After serving for a time guarding terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, he began experiencing mysterious and debilitating medical problems. He stopped walking last year and lost the feeling in his legs, as his muscles are weakening.

Wilkinson says he was exposed to hazardous chemicals while in the military. With the support of Congressman Chris Gibson's office the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs re-evaluated his injuries and rated his service-related disability at 100 percent.

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