By Jasmine Willis
DANSVILLE — It has been a decade of honoring one local hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. One life who would continue to touch the hearts of thousands with her story of courage, love, and friendship.
Sgt. Devin Snyder Ride to Remember kicked-off with nearly 300 riders at the Wayland American Legion on June 5. The foundation donated $1,000 to the Steuben County Sheriff Department for continued efforts with the canine unit. It donated $2,000 to the Mama Cindy Project for care packages to our veterans.
US Army Sgt. Devin Snyder was killed in action on June 4, 2011 in Afghanistan. The attack also killed three of her fellow soldiers. She was the first female soldier from WNY to die in this war. She is laid to rest in Cohocton.
Wayland-Cohocton Coach Jeff Englert watched Snyder grow up as a great soccer player and teammate. He handled the ceremony this year.
“We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for participating in this special event once again. As you all know the primary goal of the Sgt. Devin A. Snyder Foundation is assisting local veteran organizations and law enforcement. There are so many people to thank for making this event possible. For to Dineen Snyder, Ed Snyder and Family. They had the vision to make this event a reality. Thank you to all the committee members, family, and friends for all your hard work. Thank you to the Wayland Legion and Post Commander Kevin Mark. Thank you to all the veterans,” he said.
The foundation has always had a goal to provide funds to help law enforcement and veterans in honor of Sgt. Devin A. Snyder. In the last decade it has donated over $50,000.
“Since 2005 Mama Cindy has sent care packages to over 10,000 soldiers stationed in over 20 countries. Her website says that she will continue to send care packages to troops overseas until they all come home. On behalf of the foundation here is a check for $2,000,” Englert said.
Cynthia “Mama Cindy” Strasburg of Hemlock started out her mission by sending a care package to a friend overseas Ret. Major Wendy Parsels. Now, 16 years later she has sent thousands to veterans in order to make them feel loved.
“Thank you so much for your faith in me to take care of our troops overseas. It has been a labor of love for 16 years. Just to share some totals as of today. I have shipped out 10,787 packages weighing 55,339 pounds to 23 countries and nine ships. I just adopted another unit. I could not do this without your support. This is all done on funding from your kind and giving hearts to take care of our soldiers around the world,” she said. “It has been a hard couple years with covid. The hardest thing to share with you is that overseas covid hit and the commissaries were shut down. But I got to send packages to our troops. I sent the most packages I have ever sent in 16 years of doing this program. I don’t take this job lightly. Father gave me this mission and as long as I am on this earth and you hear my voice I will be doing this until they all come home or the Father calls me home.”
Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard accepts $1,000 donation for Canine Twiggy.
“Thank you to the Devin Snyder Foundation and to Mama Cindy for what you do. That is inspiring. Since 2013 the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office has teamed with the Devin Snyder Foundation in the hopes of being able to better protect our citizens. We have been able to provide canine services to the citizens of Steuben County,” he said. “It has gotten to be so much more than that with the two canines that the foundation has financed. It hasn’t only helped every agency here in the county, but it has helped Allegany County, Livingston County, Ontario County, Yates County, Seneca County, Keuka County, Skyler County, and Chemung County. What you are all doing is financing public safety for this entire region. It is something every one of you should be proud of. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Every canine is 100 percent donated, so without you we wouldn’t have this program.”
Wayland-Cohocton Graduate Mackenzie Curtin is entering her senior year as a Cadet at West Point Academy.
Faces of the Fallen had two new inductions this year. Sheriff Cpl. K-9 Devin and Vietnam War Veteran Cpl. Gerald Patrick Metott.
Pastors Cheryl and Rob Parker of Lighthouse Wesleyan Church gave the prayers and dedications for the Devin Snyder Ride to Remember.
“It is truly and honor to be here with all of you today. We are humbled. Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you Jesus Christ and the American Soldiers. One died for your soul and the other died for your freedom. We humbly honor Devin Snyder today for her sacrifice for our freedom. The Bible says we have been called to live in freedom and we are not to use that freedom for evil purposes. We are to use that freedom to serve one another in love as Devin did. John 15:13 says Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down their life for their friends,” Cheryl said.
“Almighty God, we thank you for the freedoms that we have because you came and gave your life for us. Lord, we thank you today as we stand on this street and think back to 10 years ago when our freedom was paid with the ultimate price of a community member, friend, and daughter. Lord we just honor deeply her sacrifice, and we ask that in no way, shape, or form that it is in vain. Liberty lives on due to the sacrifice of her and so many others that we have celebrated over the last week,” Rob said.
Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes was deeply moved by the Sgt. Devin Snyder Ride to Remember.
“This event is important for the whole community. The entire community comes out to cheer them on. It is a very emotional day. This is one of the blessings of being part of a small community. You see the entire village come together for one another. It truly is a blessing to see them all care about one another. It doesn’t get better than that,” she said.
Wayland Legion Post Commander Kevin Mark said the event always focuses on the quality and dedication of the entire crew.
“It is always impressive to see the quality and dedication of the entire crew come together for this event. People don’t know the countless hours that go into this. I want to thank everyone who was involved in this event. The police department, fire department and crew. Everything goes into putting this together every year. This was our biggest one yet. The public always supports is immensely,” he said.
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