A distinguished City Island veterans’ advocate will be immortalized with a street named in his honor.
The New York City Council unanimously approved a bill to co-name the intersection of Cross Street and City Island Avenue, where the Leonard H. Hawkins American Legion Post 156 stands, after its longtime commander and community activist, William Clancy, who passed away in 2012.
The corner will be known as “Commander William G. Clancy Lane,” in a street salute proposed by Councilman Jimmy Vacca (D-Throggs Neck).
Clancy was a life-long resident of City Island and a carpenter by trade, but he was best known for his work on behalf of veterans with the American Legion, although he served his area as a whole.
“William Clancy served his country and his community with distinction for over five decades, and I am proud to give him this honor that he so rightfully deserves,” said Vacca. “No one did more for veterans than Commander Clancy, so it is only fitting that every veteran who comes to the Leonard Hawkins American Legion Post 156 will see his name on the street sign and be reminded of him.”
The Clancys were moved by the tribute.
“The Clancy family is deeply touched by this honor bestowed upon our father and the greater American Legion family by Councilman Vacca,” said William Clancy, Jr. “Our dad would likely say that this honor is one that acknowledges all people who volunteer for organizations that serve the greater good. We agree with that sentiment and thank all of those that helped make this happen.”
William Clancy, Sr., served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1963, when he joined the Hawkins Post. He held many roles there, including at least two periods as post commander, as well as post vice commander for activities and post secretary.
During his time as commander, Clancy oversaw the expansion of the City Island American Legion building to its current capacity, and he was awarded the Legion’s “Good Guy” award in 1978 in recognition of his years of service.
In 1993, Clancy ascended to the rank of Bronx county commander on the borough-wide arm of the legion. Later, when he again served as commander for the Hawkins Post in 1996, he became involved in the New York State American Legion. It was during that time that Clancy spearheaded a national effort to recognize Prisoners of War and soldiers Missing in Action (POW/MIA). As a result, the U.S. Department of Defense declassified documents to better inform bereft families, and flew POW/MIA flags from many government flagpoles.
Clancy later became district American Legion commander and statewide vice commander, both positions covering the Bronx and other nearby counties. He was a candidate for New York state commander before his passing, and will be remembered as a mentor to members and for helping the legion to advance and grow, said Hawkins Post Commander John Muhlfeld.
“He was a father-figure for many,” he said. “He nurtured them to continue in the legion and make it better.”