YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- A Yorktown native who is a former Marine and volunteer fireman, now poised to join the New York State Police was honored for a lifetime of service at a town hall ceremony Thursday.
Yorktown native Avery Katz is a recent graduate of the New York State Police Basic School where he was named "Class Representative."
He was presented with a proclamation by State Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown) on Thursday.
"Avery will soon be joining an elite force. To have a local resident and former Marine on the road to protect and serve makes us all proud," said Murphy.
"It is important that the community is aware of the incredible work done by our state troopers and that we continue to recognize them for it. We are all happy that Avery is receiving this prestigious award because he is a homegrown officer who continues to put his community and family first," Yorktown Town Supervisor Michael Grace said.
Avery graduated from Lakeland High School in 2000 and studied criminal justice at SUNY Plattsburgh. He joined the Marine Corps, specializing in communications and information systems. Stateside, Avery has served in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, attaining the rank of Major.
He was deployed to Iraq in 2007 and again in 2010 to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
"Deploying is not easy for anyone and it is especially hard on a family, but what we did was important to help stabilize a region and also for our national security," he said.
After seven months in Cuba, Avery transitioned to the Marine Corps Reserves, serving as an Executive Officer. Returning home, he joined the Yorktown Fire Department in 2010.
"It seemed like something that would be worthwhile for me and the community," said Avery. "I like helping people. There is a great deal of satisfaction in helping to make your community a safer place to live."
Avery decided to enter law enforcement for the same reasons he became a Marine, "because of their reputation," he said.
"Both have a long-standing history of respect, integrity, strength, and being close-knit organizations."
Avery was also awarded a firearm by the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association in memory of Trooper and Marine Corps Captain John J. McKenna IV, who was killed in action in 2006 while serving in Iraq.
Avery will be assigned to Troop F in Middletown, following his training in Haverstraw.
"I like doing a job I'm passionate about. Interacting with people and meeting new people every day is what I like most about it," he said.