DANSVILLE — It was a bittersweet ceremony as many gathered to honor a fallen hero, and dedicate the local post office in her name.
On March 29 the Dansville American Legion held the dedication ceremony of the Dansville Post Office to be officially renamed Staff Sgt. Alexandria Gleason-Morrow Post Office. A lovely plaque was made, and will be drilled inside of the building to be there forever. Many family, friends, community members, veterans, local, and state officials came to this rare dedication.
On March 22, 2017 Airman Alexandria “Alex” Gleason-Morrow lost her life while on active duty in Jordan. She was loved by so many in her hometown, but also greatly cherished by her unit.
Besides the dedication there was also an American Flag that flew over the Capital handed Alex’s mother, Stephanie (Gleason) Shirley, a plaque made by Patriot Guard Riders, and a Poppy in Alex’s honor made by Vietnam Veteran and fellow Airman Bill Montague.
Stephanie (Gleason) Shirley, Alex’s mother talked about the importance of this honor, and what it means to the family.
“As I stand here I am truly overwhelmed with pride. I never truly realized how amazing our small little form of the world was until something terrible happened. In the last month I have also witnessed this community rally around two other amazing families in their time of need,” she said. “Once again just proving how amazing the people of this community are. On March 22, 2017 our lives were torn to shreds, but also on that day and every day since we have discovered how much we have grown to love and appreciate each and every one of you.You have all shown us what community is all about. For that we will be eternally grateful. As a family we are very humbled and honored to know Alex will be remembered for the amazing daughter, sister, wife, mother, granddaughter, niece, and the friend she was to us all.”
“Alex was an exceptional daughter who helped me a lot in raising her siblings. She had a huge heart and loved everyone,”Shirley continued. “She expected everyone to be the best they could be. It has been really tough the last couple of years, but we fight everyday to move forward. She always gives me a sign everyday that she is with me. It is a great honor that she will be here for generations to come. I have been proud of my daughter since the day she was born.”
Congressman Chris Collins said it was his honor to be here to dedicate the Dansville Post Office to this local hero.
“It is my honor to be here to dedicate the Dansville Post Office to Staff Sgt. Alexandria Gleason-Morrow, a true hometown hero who gave her life to serve our country. I want to thank the Dansville American Legion who offered to host the event. I want to acknowledge Jason Skinner and Tim Collmer who worked tirelessly with my office to get the ball rolling on this initiative,” he said. “We do very few of these across the country. It takes the unanimous agreement of every member of congress in the state to make this happen. I want to recognize Stephanie Gleason (Shirley) and all the other members of the family who are here. Alex’s service to her country in both life and death speaks to the kind of woman you raised.”
Jean Lovejoy, United States Postal Service WNY District Manager said she is honored to have this post office named
after a hometown hero.
“We are here to honor in a very distinguished way an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary service to our nation. The renaming of a postal facility is a special tribute. It takes an act of congress as you have heard,” she said. “It took the signature of President Trump to make this happen. This act gives the United States Postal Service the privilege of honoring the name of Staff Sgt. Alexandria Gleason Morrow, now forever associated with the Dansville Post Office. Only individuals held in high esteem are considered for this honor.”
Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty said he is proud of Staff Sgt. Alexandria Gleason Morrow.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Livingston County Sheriff’s office I am proud and honored to be here. To me there is no greater honor than public service and military service. I want to recognize Congressman Chris Collins, because without his lead this would not have happened,” he said. “One of the greatest tributes to living in a small community like Dansville is the community love and care, and I know the family has felt that. I can tell you that having Alex’s life memorialized for eternity with the naming of a post office is such a great honor. Make no mistake that Alex is a hero. Someone that is selfless and gives for the greater good is a hero.”
Virginia Johnson, Dansville High School Retired History Teacher said that Alex was one of her best students.
“Alex was a wonderful student. The kind of student a teacher dreams of. She loved reading and writing. She was a very talented artist. She was a member of the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. She immersed herself in learning and schoolwork,” she said. “She did an extensive human rights project that she researched and produced. She showed great empathy for others as she learned about human suffering. Alex took an elective course in Sociology.”
Johnson said that Alex’s favorite movie was “The Notebook” based on Nick Sparks’ bestseller. Alex loved the concept of the film, and the undying love story of the two main characters.
Don Higgins, Patriot Guard Riders Senior Ride Captain presented Stephanie (Gleason) Shirley with a special plaque in honor of Alex.
“We have a Patriot Guard Rider plaque that we would like to present to the family. On behalf of a grateful America, The Patriot Guard Riders, for proudly and bravely carrying the burden of defending this country, for service to this nation, and the sacrifices made, we sincerely thank you, Alexandria Gleason Morrow,” he said. “We have a veteran monument project that we have been working on over the last few months. The monument will be on Gypsy Lane in the town of Groveland. It is going to be a very special project. The biggest part of it is the fabrication of metal poppies that are being made by veterans to honor veterans. We hope to have it up by November 11. This is the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day. Alexandria Gleason Morrow has the first finished poppy named after her.”
The Poppy is an extra special touch to the family since one of Alex’s favorite poems to say on Memorial Day was Flanders Field. She did every single year from a young age until the year she before she lost her life in Jordan.
Avon American Legion Marjorie Martin is good friends with Alex’s grandmother, Deb Herrmann. She said that being there for fellow veterans is what the legion is all about.
“We wanted to come out to support Alex’s family on this day,” she said. “It is a real honor to have the post office named after her. We can’ just forget our fallen soldiers. I didn’t get to know Alex personally, but I heard her grandmother talk about her all the time.”
On April 28 the Dansville American Legion will hold the Staff Sgt. Alexandria Gleason-Morrow Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser from 1 to 6 p.m. There will be a dinner, basket raffle, 50/50 and silent auction. Adults are $15, children seven to 12 years are $8, and children six and under are free. For more information call 585-491-2532.