Lifelong Community District 18 resident Kevin Lynch, 57, is one of 45 local veterans who are being featured on banners around the community this month thanks to Assemblywoman Jaime Williams’ office.
Williams hung the banners displaying the veterans’ names, branches and ranks by hand along Avenues N and S, and in front of Nick’s Lobster House on Flatbush Avenue near the Belt Parkway, to honor these hometown heroes for their service.
The banner honoring Lynch is on display at the intersection of Avenue N and East 56th Street. He also received a State proclamation of gratitude from Williams at her Second Annual Veterans Appreciation Day Celebration in Marine Park on November 5th, where six other local veterans were also honored.
A member of the U.S. Navy, Lynch served for 20 years, having enlisted in January 1993 and retiring in February 2013 after being honorably discharged. The vet grew up in Gerritsen Beach and now lives in Old Mill Basin.
He reached the rank of petty officer first class, officially HM1 (FMF/SW), which stands for hospital man first class, fleet marine force, surface warfare specialist. He also received numerous recognitions, including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Navy Good Conduct Medal. Lynch served in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, Operation Southern Watch in the Persian Gulf, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“It was everything and anything and sometimes nothing at all,” Lynch said of his experience in service. “There was good times, there was bad times, there was gratifying times. Very little disappointing times.”
No day of his service was the same, whether he was working in shore duty or deployed, Lynch explained. The only consistency: the time he would wake up every day. During his last deployment, he worked at a British hospital, treating war victims. Good days, he said, would see very few patients, while bad days would see several severely injured and dying patients.
Despite the bad days, Lynch said he was grateful for his experiences while enlisted and for the people he met because of it.
“You meet a lot of great people,” he said. “You definitely form a bond with the people that you go in deployment with, especially in battle times, because you develop a friendship with one another, especially if they’re doing the same job. That friendship, it carries on well afterwards.”
Now, Lynch is a member of the Gerritsen Beach color guard, displaying the Nation’s flag in uniform at community events.
“The overall experience was, after 20 years, there’s nothing I would change in my career,” he said.