Betsy Brenner said she and her husband Donald became curious about the name of their new street when they moved on to Dorsey Court in Orangeburg.
They eventually discovered that it was named after William Dorsey, a medic in the U.S. Army who was killed during a tour of duty in Vietnam March 10, 1970.
This helped lead the Brenners to take part in the Orangetown Highway Department's Streets Named for Our Fallen Heroes program, which puts flags and informational plaques on the signs for streets in Orangetown named for members of the military killed in the line of duty.
"We thought it would be a wonderful thing for when people drive around town...for them to realize who the streets are named after," Betsy Brenner said at Tuesday's Orangetown Town Board meeting. "We had biographies put on them. It's all around town now. It gives us a nice feeling, so we decided we would donate the plaques, my husband and I, just to say we appreciate everything you do for us that we don't think about daily."
Brenner spoke as part of a presentation updating the town council on the program. Orangetown Highway Superintendent James Dean said that records of the streets named for veterans were not kept for many years, so they went to the hamlets in Orangetown to get the list of the names and checked them against Rockland County history from 1900 to 2000. They also checked the names with Jerry Donellan of the Rockland County Veterans' Service Agency.
"We found we have 60 streets named for veterans," Orangetown Highway Superintendent James Dean said. "We put a flag on every street sign. If you see a flag on it, that street is named in honor of someone who died in the service of our country."
Orangetown recently asked for the public to come forward with any information about veterans with streets named after them in town. Most of the streets do not have information plaques yet. In many cases, all the town has to go on is a name.
"If they see someone who does not have a bio and they think they have information, please get it to us," Dean said. "Sometimes all we have is just a name. We are looking for more information."
Dean said it was the Brenners who suggested putting up more than just a flag.
Putting the sign up at Dorsey Court led to the Brenners being contacted by William Dorsey's widow.
"She contacted us to thank us," Betsy Brenner said. "We were able to meet her. She never remarried. She still had his name. She was thrilled he was remembered."
For more information, including a list of the streets named for fallen heroes, go to the Orangetown Highway Department website here.
Editor's note: Check back with Patch later for more on Tuesday's town board meeting.