By MICHELLE VELEZ

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at the Intrepid Air, Sea & Space Museum that the founding Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services and trailblazer for females in the military was scheduled to resign this fall.

Brigadier General Loree Sutton, was leaving her post as Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services after founding the agency in 2016. She served in the United States Army for nearly 30 years, and was one of only 15 women generals serving in the Army at the time.

“The challenge did not stop when we took our uniforms off,” said James Hendon, former director of the NYU Veterans Lab and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, slated to replace Sutton on November 1.

During Sutton’s time as commissioner New York had an 97% decrease in veteran street homelessness, an all-time low, city officials said. Sutton got a standing ovation at the announcement.

The battleship setting prompted the mayor to remark that his father, Warren Wilhelm, who served during World War II, had sailed on the USS Intrepid, which was built during that war

“For a lot of men and women,” de Blasio said,”the time they served was extraordinarily difficult and noble, but equally hard or sometimes even harder was the time after. And I saw that in my home, and I came to understand that the war doesn’t end, for a lot of soldiers, sailors, for a lot of families, the war doesn’t end, it stays with them their whole life.”

The mayor was speaking from hard experience. His father, severely injured in the war, suffered from alcoholism and was “largely absent” from the family, causing the future mayor to adopt his mother’s maiden name and embrace his Italian heritage.

He does not often talk about his father.

The Department of Veterans Services also released a report outlining such achievements as project “Veterans on Campus” and services offered through the Veteran Resource Centers in all five boroughs.

Image credit:
“Photographer/Mayoral Photography Office”