Veteran and volunteer Arthur Seidman always wanted to serve his nation.
“I’ll tell you, it was a different time then in this country,” Seidman, a 100-year-old World War II veteran and longtime volunteer, said. “We went in because we wanted to go in. It was our country.”
Now, roughly 70 years later, Seidman has been recognized by the State of New York for his service – to both country and community.
State Sen. Elaine Phillips’ office honored Seidman on Thursday, presenting the Great Neck resident with commendations such as an honorary pin, a poster highlighting his service, and a framed certificate.
This follows his May induction into the state Senate Veterans Hall of Fame, where he joins the company of dozens of veterans across New York.
“Arthur Seidman is a true American hero who embodies the foundations that this country was founded on,” Phillips said at the ceremony. “Hard work, commitment, and giving back.”
Seidman served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1946, fighting in the Pacific Theater during World War II, particularly in New Guinea and the Philippines.
Afterward, Seidman served in the occupying forces.
He earned commendations for his valor and initiative during the Battle of Luzon, which was occupied by Japan.
When a fellow soldier in another battalion was wounded, Seidman went through heavy fire, took over his position and destroyed enemy artillery placements.
Seidman earned a Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and Army Occupation Medal for his service, as well as the rank of Lieutenant.
“I was proud to be soldier,” Seidman said. “When the war was over, I walked with a different step.”
Upon returning home, Seidman would go on to work in the garment industry for 50 years.
Then, after retiring, he began volunteering at North Shore University Hospital in the surgical waiting room.
Since then he has given over 14,000 hours of his time, mainly on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
He was married to his wife Lillian from 1941 to 1986, when she died.
He was with another woman for 19 years until her death in 2006. Currently, Seidman said, he has been dating someone for about 10 years.
Jane Krakauer, Seidman’s daughter and a trustee in Russell Gardens, said that her father still drives to the Manhasset hospital from his Great Neck home. The two also meet three to four times a week for food, they said.
“I have dinner with my daughter three or four times a week, because I’m her best friend,” Seidman said, prompting a wave of “awwws” from the ceremony attendants.
Then on the weekends, Krakauer said her father would visit the woman he’s dating on the Jersey Shore.
“And he wears his muscle shirt,” Krakauer noted, spawning some laughs.
“That’s known as spreading the wealth,” Seidman replied, with attendees erupting in laughter.
Ultimately, his daughter said that the message everyone should get from this is that volunteering can keep you young and in good spirits.
“When you have a connection to the community, that is everything,” Krakauer said. “It keeps you living longer, it gives you a purpose – you get up in the morning and you have some place to go.”