The Gregory J. Harris Military Courtesy Room at Syracuse Hancock Airport
Gregory J. Harris Military Courtesy Room

  About MCR

The Gregory J. Harris Military Courtesy Room (MCR) was officially opened on July 29, 2008, by two local TSA agents Leroy Bowen and Loren Davies and soon followed by Mary Ann Reitano.

Loren and Leroy were dismayed at seeing soldiers lying around the airport waiting for their flights or waiting for a ride. Loren and Leroy approached the Airport Commissioner, City of Syracuse Common Council and the Mayor’s Office with an idea to start an area for traveling military through Hancock International Airport.

The airport gave Leroy and Loren a small former baggage claim room at the far north end of the airport. Leroy, Loren and Mary Ann worked tirelessly to solicit funding, furniture and appliances from local military organizations and businesses. By the time the room was scheduled to open, the airport has provided a second adjoining baggage claim room. One room was strictly for a kitchen and food storage while the other room was used for relaxing and additional storage.


Grand Opening


Mary Ann and family were honored when it was suggested that the MCR be named after a local service member, Cpl. Gregory J. Harris. Gregory’s family attended opening day and participated in the official ribbon cutting.

The Emerald City Marine Corps League stepped up to offer support in making the MCR a subsidiary of their non-profit organization until the MCR was able to get their own IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

As news about the MCR spread throughout the community, people offering their time to volunteer for 4-hour shift increments. The MCR needed volunteers nearly 20 hours a day, 365 days a year. To date we have approximately 80 regular volunteers who have permanent weekly shifts or fill in on an as needed basis.


Flag Ceremony


Over the past 7 years, we have laughed, hugged and cried with those traveling though Hancock International Airport. We have many stories we could tell about nervous recruits headed for basic training, missed flights, hungry pets, Olympians, marriage proposals, and stranded military personnel due to typical winters in Syracuse, to only name a few.

We have bonded well with Ft. Drum and other military organizations as well as our local community, all wanting to help and to make a difference in the lives of our military.

It is our hope to continue to be a home away from home and a place of comfort for traveling military and their families.


 

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