Congratulations to this month's WPDH Vet Who Rocks, Nate the Great.

Nathan B. Grant is affectionately known around the Hudson Valley as "Nate the Great," a nickname he has more than earned for his years of service to the community. Nate was nominated as a WPDH Vet Who Rocks by Bethann Gunn, who sent us a wonderful letter detailing all Nate's incredible achievements.

Nathan B. Grant was born in Virginia and raised in a small town in North Carolina, the youngest of 12 children. Nate grew up during very difficult times, both racially and economically. After graduation from High School Nate was offered a baseball scholarship to Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee, an offer he declined as he felt he should instead stay and help support his mother. It is this spirit of giving and sacrifice, instilled in his childhood, that Nate carried with him to Vietnam and continues today.

Drafted as a young man and deployed to Vietnam, Nate served in the United States Army as a “tunnel rat” a job which entailed crawling into a tunnel first (a tunnel initially dug by the Viet Cong which lead to their underground bunkers) to see if the tunnel
was empty. His duty posed the terrifying risk of finding the tunnel occupied which would bring him face to face with the enemy, in combat, in extremely tight quarters. Nate’s only protection was a fellow soldier behind him holding a gun over Nate’s shoulder so that if Nate were to see any signs of the enemy he would duck which would signal his battle buddy to shoot. This is the type of courage and bravery this Vietnam Veteran is made of.

Nate served his country and returned home from Vietnam and worked until his retirement in 1994. Leaving military service didn’t stop Nate from serving his country or fellow veterans. Nate is a Life Member of the VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 170 and Commander and Life Member of Lafayette American Legion Post 37, located in Poughkeepsie. At almost any given time of the day or night you can find Nate working, volunteering and helping out in the Veteran Community.

The Holiday Season can be a stressful time for veterans and their families. During these times Nate will organize and collect for veteran families in need so that they are able to give their families happy holiday memories with gifts and nutritious foods.

At the VFW there is a Hero Garden. At the Hero Garden, there are flags representing each branch of the military, there is also a memorial walkway of bricks. In May, usually on or around Military Appreciation Weekend any bricks purchased throughout the year need to be set in place on the walkway. As a skilled bricklayer and using precision and dexterity you will find Nate setting these bricks so that on Memorial Day the Hero Garden at the VFW Post 170 will be ready for memorial services.

Nate is a true grill master. During the summertime at the VFW Post 170, there is a weekly “Burger Burn”. A burger burn is a Saturday afternoon barbecue fundraising event. At times, Nate has single-handedly conducted this event bringing it to a successful outcome.

Wreaths Across America’s mission statement is “Remember, Honor, Teach”. Before Covid-19 times, Nate would go into local public schools to speak of his military service time and to educate America’s youth on Veteran issues.
The Lafayette American Legion Post 37, has a food pantry to provide and supplement veterans in need with nutritious foods and other essentials. At times these donations need to be picked up and distributed to locations throughout Dutchess and surrounding counties.

The VFW Post 170 together with Hudson River Housing has planned and initiated dinners for Veterans at Liberty Station. Nate has been a big part of this operation as well. Before Covid-19 restrictions these dinners were held at the VFW Post 170 Pavilion, Nate was there preparing food, carving the turkey and helping to serve the dinners. Since Covid-19 restrictions have been in place, the dinners to Liberty Station have been conducted in a drop-off, contact-free fashion. And Nate continues to be a constant participant.

Veterans Day is a day to honor ALL our nation's Veterans. Last Veterans Day, Hospice held a drive-thru veterans’ breakfast at the Franklin D Roosevelt historical site in Hyde Park. At this event, Nate, along with his fellow VFW and American Legion comrades David Gunn and James Matrando, set up and attended to the MIA/POW remembrance table. This table is meant to bring awareness to the fallen, missing and imprisoned U.S. military service members.

And these are just some of the reasons we call him, Nate the GREAT!
Respectfully submitted by
~Bethann Gunn

As a WPDH Vet Who Rocks, Nate will receive $500 and is in the running for $10,000 that will be handed out to a Hudson Valley veteran on Veteran's Day. The Vets Who Rock program is proudly funded by our partners; Tompkins-Mahopac Bank, MHA of Dutchess County and Unity Ambulette.