Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus spent part of Friday morning meeting with fourth-grade students at Willow Avenue Elementary School in Cornwall to celebrate “Mastodon Day.”

Neuhaus declared Friday, October 25 “Mastodon Day” in Orange County during his meeting with three classes and presented the students with a proclamation to commemorate the day

The students gave the County Executive letters that they made for him during his deployment in the Middle East earlier this year.

Neuhaus serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a Lieutenant Commander, assigned to a Naval Special Operations Team.

Neuhaus said:

They are a great bunch of students. Their kindness is much appreciated, and I enjoyed spending time with all of them, as well as the faculty and the staff at Willow Avenue Elementary School. They were wonderful hosts, and I’m always inspired and reinvigorated after visiting with the youth of Orange County

Mastodons have a rich history in Orange County. Thirty-eight skeletons have been found since 1780, making Orange County the unofficial capital of exhumed mastodons in the U.S. The Mastodon, which is distantly related to the elephant, inhabited North and Central America approximately 10,000 years ago.

Four years ago, students from Deb Gilson’s fourth-grade class at Willow Avenue sent Neuhaus hand-written letters, asking him to visit their classroom and make a “Mastodon Day” in Orange County. The County Executive obliged and has been delighted to accept Gilson’s invitation to return to Willow Avenue Elementary School every year since.



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