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The original item was published from 10/25/2019 2:19:51 PM to 11/26/2019 12:00:00 AM.

News Flash


Posted on: October 25, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Neuhaus celebrates “Mastodon Day” with fourth graders at Willow Avenue Elementary School in Cornwall


Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus spent part of Friday morning meeting with fourth-grade students at Willow Avenue Elementary School in Cornwall to celebrate “Mastodon Day.”

Neuhaus declared Friday, October 25th “Mastodon Day” in Orange County during his meeting with three classes and presented the students with a proclamation to commemorate the day.

The students gave the County Executive letters that they made for him during his deployment in the Middle East earlier this year. Neuhaus serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a Lieutenant Commander, assigned to a Naval Special Operations Team. He was deployed on active duty orders from November of last year until late-June, serving with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force.

Neuhaus spent the majority of his deployment in various locations throughout Iraq in Support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. Military Campaign against ISIS.

“They are a great bunch of students,” Neuhaus said. “Their kindness is much appreciated, and I enjoyed spending time with all of them, as well as the faculty and the staff at Willow Avenue Elementary School. They were wonderful hosts, and I’m always inspired and reinvigorated after visiting with the youth of Orange County.”

Neuhaus was joined at the event by Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun.

Mastodons have a rich history in Orange County. Thirty-eight skeletons have been found since 1780, making Orange County the unofficial capital of exhumed mastodons in the U.S. The Mastodon, which is distantly related to the elephant, inhabited North and Central America approximately 10,000 years ago.

Four years ago, students from Deb Gilson’s fourth-grade class at Willow Avenue sent Neuhaus hand-written letters, asking him to visit their classroom and make a “Mastodon Day” in Orange County. The County Executive obliged and has been delighted to accept Gilson’s invitation to return to Willow Avenue Elementary School every year since. Neuhaus presented each of the students with a proclamation certificate declaring another “Mastodon Day” in Orange County.

“We are all grateful for the County Executive’s service and commitment to this Country,” Gilson said. “He is a dedicated public servant and, thanks to him, another group of students are excited to learn about Orange County’s rich history. His enthusiasm for hearing from them regarding the mastodon is genuine and much appreciated.”

For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or