Peter Ceretta, an 88-year-old veteran and retiree of NASA was recently honored by The Bristal in Westbury and Genser Dubow Genser & Cona (GDGC), an elder law and estate planning law firm in Melville.
A resident of the assisted living facility, Peter was joined by his nieces and nephews at the event attended by over 60 people. After suffering a stroke a few years ago, his family relocated him from Virginia to Long Island.
“We honored Peter for his contributions and experience during World War II as well as for his participation in our activities at The Bristal where he always exhibits kindness to residents and staff,” says Anne Madsen, activity director, The Bristal. “Peter loves to go on outings to beaches and parks and helps other residents by carrying coolers and serving food.”
Drafted while he was at New York University, he was taught to fly the C46, the largest two-engine cargo plane built by the U.S. Requiring a team of four to fly the plane, they went all over the world delivering aviation gas and supplies to foreign ports.
After discharge from the service, Peter graduated NYU with a degree in Aeronautics. Starting his career at the David Tyler Model Basin, Peter worked with a group that built a trans-sonic wind tunnel and personally tested a Zeppelin airship there. Considered an expert in his field, he worked at NASA testing several rocket designs for the Apollo Space program.
In addition to honoring Peter, GDGC and The Bristal presented the four winners of a student art contest entitled “These Colors Don’t Run” with a Visa gift card and certificate. “We sponsored the contest to give youngsters an opportunity to show their creativity in thanking local Veterans and their families for the services they gave to our country,” explains Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq., partner at GDGC.
From 146 entries, the four winners from elementary and middle schools on LI were selected based on creativity, originality and language used to exemplify the contest theme. Now, their work is displayed at GDGC’s Susan C. Snowe Caregiver Resource Center, a community resource that offers free information to seniors and their families.
The winners included:
- Joseph Quaranta, 10, Central Islip
- Andrew Perez, 6, Islip Terrace
- Emma DeStefano, 11, Deer Park
- Melanie Regan, 14, West Islip
At the event, Melissa presented information on the VA Aid and Attendance pension benefit that gives veterans and their spouses a monthly stipend for care at home or in an assisted living facility. So far, GDGC has completed more than 200 applications as a pro bono service to Veterans.