Veterans Service Agency Director, Thomas "Tom" Ronayne
Prior to joining the Agency, Tom was a Construction Manager in NYC for firms including Tishman Construction Corp. as Lead Superintendent and employee veterans’ liaison. While with Tishman, Tom served as Team Leader at the World Trade Center from 9/11 until late 2002. Past Post, Suffolk County Council, District #1, NYS Aide de Camp, National Assistant Inspector General of Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.. Tom served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for four years as a Tin Can (Destroyer) sailor and was deployed to El Salvador and Beirut, Lebanon serving as a Landing Forces Party and Weapons Security Petty Officer on both deployments. While in service he was a STG2. He served aboard USS Vogelgesang DD-862 and USS Vreeland FF-1068. He was awarded a Navy Expeditionary Medal, Navy Battle “E” Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (w star), and Navy Pistol Expert. Tom has been working as a Veterans Advocate since 1993.
Veterans Service Officer Biography, Melinda Gobin
Melinda served 3 years Active Duty in the US Navy. She served aboard the USS Simon Lake (AS-33) in La Maddelena, Italy as a Fireman and the USS Wasp (LHD-1) as an Operation Specialist 3rd class. Melinda earned her ESWS (Enlisted Service Warfare Specialist) as an E-3 on the USS Simon Lake (AS-33). She then went on and served 4 years in the Naval Reserves as a OS2 (Operation Specialist Second Class Petty Officer). She received the Armed Forces Service Medal, Navy "E" Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Veterans Service Aide Biography, Keith O’Reilly
Prior to joining the Veterans Agency, Keith spent a number of years in private industry/Retail world i.e.- Drug Stores, Supermarkets working as a supervisor or manager in the security safety end of the business world. Keith’s Military service encompassed 4 years of Active Duty in the U.S. Navy. He served aboard the USS Butte (AE-27) based out of Early Naval Weapons Station in Earl New Jersey as a member of the Deck Department. Keith then served on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) based out of Norfolk Naval Base as a member of the deck department where he received his promotion to Petty Officer 3rd Class Boatswain’s Mate. Keith received letters of appreciation and commendation from the commanding officers of the USS Eisenhower for work during various shipboard work. He was awarded the Navy Battle “E” ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal.
Veterans Service Officer Biography, Melissa R. Pandolf, Retired MSgt
Melissa’s military career spans over 20 years. She served four years on active duty in the Air Force as a flight medic both overseas and stateside. After separating active duty she joined the reserves and deployed to the United Arab Emirates. She then transferred from the reserves to the Air National Guard where she retrained from flight medicine to financial management for seven years before returning to her original career field as a medic. Among other awards and medals, she was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement medal with 2 devices, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with 5 devices, National Defense Service Medal with 1 device, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the New York Defense of Liberty medal with 1 device for her deployment to Ground Zero following the events of 9/11. Melissa retired in 2016 at the rank of Master Sergeant.
Veterans Service Officer Biography, Gary W. Richard, Retired 1SG
Gary served active duty in the U.S. Army for thirty years. He was a Grenada, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan veteran. While in service he was a First Sergeant for the Airborne Infantry 151st TIOG/Special Operations Command. He was awarded the Bronze Star w/V device, Purple Heart w/Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, ARCOM, AAM, Good Conduct Medal, Expeditionary Medal, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, SWA Medal, AFRAM, ASR, NDSM w/BS, AOVSM, NCODP w/3, OSR w/2, IRAQ Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, GWOT Medal, ARCAM, Air Assault Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge 2nd award, Master Airborne Badge, Drivers Badge w/wheel and track, Expert Rifle Badge w/pistol and Machine Gun tab, Gold Recruiters Badge, Infantry Cord, Order of Saint Barbara Medal, Army Outstanding Unit Citation w/BS, Unit Meritorious Unit Citation. In December 2013, he completed his Master’s Degree in Human Services Leadership. He is an advocate for veterans and advocate of the Burn Pits issue.
Veterans Service Officer Biography, Brian Rooney
Brian served in the United States Navy for five years active duty as a Quartermaster onboard DDG-51 USS Arleigh Burke. Within those five years, his ship supported Joint-Warrior operations with all NATO ships off the coast of Scotland in 2009 and 2011, pirate operations off the coast of Africa in 2009, and in 2012, supported Israel in numerous operations. During his service on active duty, he has earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pin. He served in the Navy Reserves as a Quarter Master First Class Surface Warfare from 2015 to 2021. In the reserves, QM1(SW) Rooney is on the funeral honor guard and services veteran families all over Long Island, and deployed to Bahrain in 2019-2020 in order to protect maritime merchant vessels. Brian has earned the Armed Forces Reserve medal enlisted, 3 Good Conduct medals, GWOT Expeditionary medal, GWOT, Navy Rifle Marksmen ribbon, military outstanding volunteer award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal, National Defense medal, 2 Navy “E” Ribbons, Navy Pistol Sharp Shooter ribbon, 2 Sea Service Deployment ribbons, Inherent Resolve Campaign medal, Navy and Marine Corps oversea service ribbon and Surface Warfare Insignia. In 2018 Brian received his Bachelors degree for Human Services from St. Joseph’s College. Mr. Rooney takes pride in serving veterans and veterans families and continue his service to his community as a Veterans Service Officer.