DELMAR – Senator Neil Breslin, Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy announced on Tuesday, Dec. 20 the naming of the ‘Medal of Honor Recipient Francis S. Currey Memorial Highway’ of a portion of State Route 32 in Bethlehem alongside members of the Currey family, American Legion Blanchard-Currey Post 1040 members, local veterans, Town of Bethlehem Supervisor David VanLuven and Town Board members.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and Senator Neil Breslin was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul earlier this year to designate State Route 32 between the intersection with Bender Lane and the intersection with Elsmere Avenue as the “Medal of Honor Recipient Francis S. Currey Memorial Highway”. Additionally, ‘Frank’ Currey was honored at Albany County’s monthly Honor-A-Vet program in June of this year.
One week after graduating high school in 1943, Currey enlisted in the U.S. Army. Sergeant Currey and his platoon were assigned to defend the small Belgian town of Malmedy with little more than small arms.
Facing several German tanks intent on flanking his battalion, Currey repeatedly braved enemy fire to inflict heavy losses on the enemy, rescued five American soldiers that had been pinned down, and repelled the enemy advance.
For his valor he was awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor. In addition, he was presented with the Belgian Order of Leopold, a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. He was also a Charter Member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
After the war, Currey worked as a counselor at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany for 30 years retiring in 1980. Currey died in October 2019 in Selkirk, but the organizations intend to help his legacy live on forever.
“Francis Currey is an all-American hero who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the lives of his fellow countrymen and single-handedly stopping an enemy advance,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “In honor of the heroism Francis Currey displayed and life he lived; I am immensely proud that his legacy will live on in Albany County in the form of the Medal of Honor Recipient Francis S. Currey Memorial Highway in a testament to his bravery and actions in the heat of battle and in service to our nation.”
“We are all indebted to Francis Currey for his valor and sacrifice in defense of our country,” said Senator Neil Breslin. “I was honored to sponsor legislation to help preserve his legacy by renaming State Route 32 in Bethlehem as “Medal of Honor Recipient Francis S. Currey Memorial Highway.”
“As a veteran myself, Francis Currey was the kind of person many of us look up to. After risking his life for others and being wounded in combat during World War II, he could have returned home to live a quiet life. Instead, Francis continued to serve veterans and his community, which is why I honored him for Albany County’s Honor-A-Veteran ceremony in June,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “I want to thank Assembly-Member Fahy and Senator Breslin for today’s highway dedication, which can be added to a long list of commendations that the Currey family can be proud of.”
“Frank Currey was a valued member of this Post and we’re glad to see New York State honor him by renaming State Route 32 and the Delmar Bypass in his honor,” said Steve Riedel, former Commander and Finance Officer of the Nathaniel A. Blanchard American Legion Post 1040.
“One of Francis Currey’s legacies is to remind us of the good that we can do in our community,” said Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven. “His life was important not just because of his actions in war, but also because of his lifetime of actions after that. This memorial is an important reminder that every day we can try to make a difference too.”