Honoring Our Heroes – Vietnam War veteran Mike O’Leary

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When Mike O'Leary gets behind the wheel of his old squad car, he reflects on a lifetime of service.

In 1966, the Sayville resident, then 17, enlisted in the Navy. While many were protesting and dodging the draft, O'Leary volunteered to serve in the Vietnam War.

After serving a year on the Navy's riverboat patrols in South Vietnam, O'Leary returned to Long Island and became a Nassau police officer.

O'Leary worked undercover to crack down on the county's crack cocaine crisis, making 3,000 arrests in 19 years.

He spent the last eight years of his career as a homicide detective, before retiring in 2009.

“You've got to give back. I'm not the smartest man in the world, but I can get things done. I can serve. I can help, and I just always had that inner feeling that I just want to serve people and help people,” said O’Leary.

O'Leary was recently honored with a 50th Vietnam Anniversary Commemorative Medal from the Long Island Air Force Association.

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