Bronx residents get new NY Guard positions


Command Sgt. Maj. Vera of the Bronx moves on to a new position with the New York Guard Headquarters, based at Camp Smith as the operations sergeant major.

Vera served in the U.S. Army from 1988 to 1993 and enlisted in the New York Guard in 2004. He previously served as a member of the New York Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear incident response force until 2013.

Following his own completion of various NCO roles, duties, and responsibilities, Vera served as an instructor at various professional development courses such as the Primary Development Course, the Basic NCO Course, the Advanced NCO Course and the Sergeant Major’s Course.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Steve Vera demonstrated outstanding service, leadership, and loyalty, and exceptional dedication to our Soldiers for more than seven years,” New York Guard Capt. David Tsin said. “We will miss him in the 88th Area Command. However, thankfully, we have not lost him, as he continues to serve and make a positive difference in his new role as the New York Guard operations sergeant major.”

The New York Guard’s 88th Area Command, the state defense force component of the New York Military Forces, welcomed 1st Sgt. Joseph Ronda as its senior noncommissioned officer during a change of responsibility ceremony Sept. 16, 2023 at the Museum of American Armory on Long Island.

Ronda, a Bronx resident, took over responsibilities as the senior enlisted leader of the 88th Area Command from Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Vera, also of the Bronx, following the unit’s annual family day activities.

“First Sergeant Joseph Ronda is an excellent and highly dedicated and loyal NCO with plenty of relevant experience, both from prior federal military service and more than twelve years of service in the 88th Area Command,” Capt. Tsin said. “The 88th Area Command is fortunate to have him as its first sergeant.”

The New York Guard is a volunteer state militia, one of four components of the New York Military Forces, which includes the New York Army National Guard, New York Air National Guard and the New York Naval Militia.

The New York Guard was first established in 1917 to backfill the Army National Guard in homeland security duties when the state National Guard mobilized and deployed for service in World War I. Since then, New York Guard volunteers have trained to augment the National Guard during state emergencies.

The 88th Area Command has more than 130 volunteers and serves the largest population segment of New York State, with members supporting missions across New York City and Long Island.

Ronda served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1998-2004 before switching to the Individual Ready Reserves until 2006 and enlisted in the New York Guard in 2010.

He completed the Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course in 2012 and from 2013 to Ronda served as an instructor for various courses such as Initial Entry Training, Primary Leadership Development Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course and Officer Candidate School.

When not instructing, Ronda completed his Advanced NCO Course and Senior NCO Course, in addition to numerous other courses.

Ronda says he is a strong advocate of training and professional development for New York Guard volunteers.

Buffalo honors. college student

Anna Traynor of greater Riverdale is enrolled in the University at Buffalo Honors College for the 2023-24 academic year.

UB is New York State’s flagship and the largest and most comprehensive institution in the SUNY system.

The UB Honors College supports and challenges academically gifted students to strengthen their studies and explore their interests across the disciplines.

“The Honors College’s enriching and individualized curriculum spans a student’s undergraduate career and offers a small college experience within a large research university,” Honors College Academic Director Patrick McDevitt says. “We foster leadership, independence, creativity, undergraduate research, global perspectives and civic engagement.”

Currently, 1,661 of UB’s 19,118 undergraduate students are enrolled in the Honors College. The college welcomed 587 first-year students for fall 2023 — the largest and most diverse Honors class yet.

Honors scholars enjoy many benefits designed to foster academic and personal success - including personalized advisement, faculty mentorship, priority registration, access to unique funding opportunities, specialized living communities and a network of global honors alumni.

Honors scholars must maintain a 3.30 undergraduate grade point average during the first year and at least a 3.50 undergraduate GPA in each successive year to graduate with an overall GPA of 3.50.

The University at Buffalo is a premier, research-intensive public university, and is New York’s flagship. UB’s more than 32,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Hawkins named to Hall

The SUNY Delhi Athletics Hall of Fame Committee inducted four new members as part of the 15th ever class. The class includes Sen. Peter Oberacker ‘83 (baseball and basketball), Kevin Parrott ‘84 (wrestling), Cedric Hawkins ‘94 (track & field), and James Gordon ‘00 (lacrosse). The four were recognized on Oct. 14-15 in numerous events around Delhi, including a special reception and a halftime recognition at the women’s soccer match.

“We are deeply honored to have such a diverse group join our Hall of Fame this year,” said Director of Athletics and Committee Chair Bob Backus. “Through our four inductees, we have six SUNY Delhi Athletic Programs featured. The Athletics Department is pleased to host this event in coordination with our home soccer contests for the benefit of our student body and campus.”

Cedric Hawkins ‘94 of greater Riverdale attended SUNY Delhi from 1992 to 1994, participating in the men’s indoor and outdoor track & field program for two seasons. Specializing in the high hurdles and the high jump events, he achieved remarkable success by becoming a Region III Champion in indoor track at the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 7.5 seconds. He also clinched the title of Region III Champion in outdoor track at the 110-meter hurdles, with an impressive time of 14.42 seconds. Notably, both of these hurdle performances remain as enduring SUNY Delhi School records. Furthermore, his exceptional performance in the 110 High Hurdles still holds the record for the Region III Championship Meet. Cedric’s prowess extended to the high jump, where his achievement of clearing 6’ 10” at the 1993 Outdoor Track & Field Championships earned him NJCAA All-American honors and a podium placement.

Peter Oberacker ‘83 was a dual-sport athlete, participating in basketball and baseball at SUNY Delhi from 1981-1983. A standout baseball pitcher, Oberacker’s freshman year showcased a strong performance, accumulating a 3-1 record with an impressive 2.50 ERA. In his second season, he continued to excel on the mound as a captain, achieving a remarkable 4-0 record and an outstanding 1.98 ERA.

James Gordon ‘00 attended SUNY Delhi from 1998-2000 and played midfield on the Men’s Lacrosse team for two seasons during the early pioneering days of the newly established Men’s Lacrosse program which officially began in 1998. During the 1999 and 2000 seasons, James helped the Broncos establish the foundation for the future success of the program.

He served as a team Captain both seasons and twice earned All-Conference honors and was a Coaches Award recipient. Statistically, during his two seasons, he totaled 61 goals and 25 assists over his career, which were both SUNY Delhi program records at the time of his graduation. The 2000 team was the Mountain Valley Conference co-Champions and James was recognized with NJCAA All American - Honorable Mention Honors.

After completing his Associate Degree in Business Administration from SUNY Delhi in 2000, he went on to attend West Chester University, PA, where he also participated on the men’s lacrosse team.


National Guard, New York, Steven Vera, Joseph Ronda, Anna Traynor, University at Buffalo Honors College, Cedric Hawkins, SUNY Delhi