Late veteran advocate honored in street co-naming

Councilman James Vacca (c) with family and friends of the late American Legion commander, William Clancy.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

A late City Island veterans’ advocate who championed the cause to have captured and lost soldiers remembered was honored recently.

On Saturday, September 26, Councilman James Vacca, family and friends of the late American Legion post commander, William G. Clancy, and veterans gathered at City Island Avenue and Cross Street to co-name the intersection as ‘Commander William G. Clancy Lane’ to honor the veteran who passed away on July 7, 2012 at age 75.

According to Councilman Vacca, this ceremony was attended by American Legion members from all around the nation.

“Commander Clancy did so much for the Bronx County American Legion, City Island and the Leonard H. Hawkins American Legion Post 156, but did it quietly without looking for any accolades,” said Councilman Vacca, a longtime friend of the Clancy family. “He was a true unsung patriot.”

“As a lifelong City Islander and Bronx resident, I am very proud of this honor given to my father,” said William Clancy III. “It was a beautiful, moving ceremony with at least 200 people in attendance and we are all incredibly proud of him.”

Aside from his work with Post 156, Clancy was involved in the New York State American Legion where he lead successful efforts to have Prisoners of War and soldiers Missing in Action nationally recognized by having the U.S. Department of Defense declassify documents to provide families of these soldiers more details and have POW/MIA flags flown from many government flagpoles.

“This was an issue that could have been easily forgotten and he was a leading champion of this cause,” said Clancy III. “Since then, they have helped find hundreds upon hundreds of these soldiers to bring them back home. He was forceful in what he went after, but was very nice and respectful while doing so.”

Clancy III added his father served as the American Legion’s Bronx County commander and New York State vice commander and was nominated as New York State commander-elect shortly before his death.

An active community member, Clancy served as an original member of the now defunct City Island Volunteer Ambulance Corps and as an assistant scoutmaster for City Island’s Troop 211, according to Clancy III.

“He was a tremendous believer of people doing community service and he never saw it as being a chore,” said Clancy III.

According to U.S. Army Colonel Michael Clancy, his father was drafted in 1961 and served for two years as a combat engineer deployed in southern France to help rebuild the country’s sewer system which was destroyed during World War II.

Following his 1963 homecoming, Clancy, a skilled carpenter, worked as a boat builder at the Minneford Yacht Club and joined Post 156.

“He was a blue collar guy from the Bronx who collected people for a living,” said Michael. “He had such an impact on so many people’s lives that they looked up to him as a father figure. He was a great ambassador for the Bronx who helped change people’s perception of the borough and his name will live on in the community with this new street sign.”

The new sign for Commander William G. Clancy Lane.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

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