(WNY News Now) – United States Army Command Sergeant Major William Joyce (Ret.) of Pembroke was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame Friday by New York State Sen. George M. Borrello during a ceremony at the Botts Fiorito American Legion Post No. 576 in Le Roy.
Le Roy – Mr. Joyce has served as Director of the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency since 2012. During his tenure as director, he has helped thousands of veterans and is known for going above and beyond to ensure veterans and their families receive the benefits they have earned.
“Bill Joyce has devoted his life to serving his country and his community,” Sen. Borrello said. “He is the embodiment of the Army’s motto: ‘This We’ll Defend.’ When his active military service ended, he returned home and enlisted in the Army Reserves to continue defending his home and country. Bill is a true citizen soldier, and I am honored to be able to recognize him for his service by inducting him into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.”
Mr. Joyce’s military service began in 1972 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. As a specialist fourth class, he was stationed in Germany to guard the eastern border with the formerly Communist Czechoslovakia.
When his active tour ended in 1975, he returned home and began a 40-year civilian career with the New York State Police as a mechanic and quartermaster at Troop A Headquarters in Batavia. He also resumed his military service by enlisting in the Army Reserves, eventually rising through the ranks to become a command sergeant major. Serving with the 2/390th Engineer Battalion in Batavia, Mr. Joyce became a drill instructor and performed annual training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. He also served with the 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion as Command Sergeant Major in Tonawanda and the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion in Webster.
Following his tour of duty with the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion, Mr. Joyce joined the Individual Ready Reserves and was activated to serve as Air Force General Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart’s senior enlisted advisor at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. At General Eberhart’s request, Mr. Joyce developed a ceremony recognizing the inactivation of SPACECOM and the activation of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM). His work on the historic event, attended by General H. Hugh Shelton and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, earned him Challenge Coins for achieving a “joint ceremony like no other.”
Mr. Joyce retired from the military in 2012 after 40 years of distinguished service which included deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, a member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, said Mr. Joyce’s service to veterans goes beyond Genesee County.
“I’m proud to see that Command Sgt. Major William Joyce is being inducted into the NYS Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame,” Assemblyman Hawley said. “As a fellow veteran, I am thankful for his service and appreciate all of the work he has done as Director of the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency. Sgt. Major Joyce has had an invaluable impact on the lives of veterans in Genesee County and throughout the state. He has earned this distinction and I’m glad to see him get the recognition that he deserves.”
As Director of the Genesee County Veterans Services Agency, Mr. Joyce engages in rural outreach beyond his service area to help homebound veterans across New York State. He has assisted veterans as far away as Germany and the Philippines and takes satisfaction in having secured a 100 percent disability rating for two terminally ill veterans in record time, providing them with peace of mind that their spouses would receive survivor benefits.
Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle “Shelley” Stein said Mr. Joyce makes himself available any time of the day and night to help veterans and their families.
“This honor is well-deserved. Bill embodies respect, duty, and honor of service to our nation in every aspect of his life,” Ms. Stein said. “His care, compassion and relentless commitment to achieving earned benefits for veterans and their families are his hallmark of service to others. We offer our heartfelt and warm congratulations to Bill on being inducted into the New York State Veteran’s Hall of Fame.
Mr. Joyce is active in many veterans’ organizations and serves as the President of the Western New York National Cemetery Memorial Council. He has also served as a volunteer firefighter with the East Pembroke Fire Department since 1975.
“As a grateful nation, we should always pause to honor our veterans and thank them for everything they have given us,” Sen. Borrello said. “Bill Joyce served his nation with honor and distinction as a member of the U.S. Army. Since leaving the military, he has dedicated his life to assisting his brother and sister veterans who also answered their nation’s call.
“Freedom is not free. Preserving it takes courageous people like Bill Joyce who are willing to risk everything and sacrifice anything up to and including their lives in defense of our country and the ideals we hold dear. We will never take their sacrifice for granted.”
Mr. Joyce’s military medals and awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, two Defense Meritorious Medals, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, five Army Achieve Medals, two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, the USA/USAF Presidential Unit Citation, Army Good Conduct Medal, five Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals, three National Defense Service Medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, four Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, four Overseas Service Ribbons, Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, four Armed Forces Reserve Medal with bronze and gold hourglasses and “M” device, tow NATO Medals, Combat Infantryman Badge, Drill Instructor Badge, Expert Rifle Badge, Sharpshooter Pistol Badge, and Expert Grenade Badge.
The New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame was created in 2005, to honor those veterans who have distinguished themselves in their military service and continue to devote themselves to serving their neighbors, communities and country. Qualities that define Mr. Joyce.