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Inaugural “Congressman Peter Peyser Memorial Award” Presented to Annette Leyden of Sleepy Hollow

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November 12, 2015

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State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins presents certificate to Annette Leyden.

Sleepy Hollow resident Annette Leyden received the inaugural “Congressman Peter Peyser Memorial Award” at a ceremony on October 11 at Chutney Masala Restaurant in Irvington. Hosted by the Irvington Democratic Committee (IDC), chair David Imamura welcomed the packed audience and then introduced featured speaker Congresswoman Nita Lowey who brought a special congressional proclamation honoring Leyden. State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, and County Legislator Mary Jane Shimsky also presented proclamations to Leyden for her many years of service to the Irvington and Sleepy Hollow communities. Irvington Democratic Trustee candidates, Janice Silverberg and Deputy Mayor Connie Kehoe, were also honored at the event.

Former IDC chair Paula Romanow Etzel presented a plaque to Congressman Peyser’s widow Marguerite, who now lives in Sleepy Hollow, and son Peter, Jr., who accepted the award on behalf of the Peyser family. Congressman Peyser passed away on October 9, 2014 at the age of 93. Noting that both Peyser and Leyden were role models for her, Etzel explained, “The ‘Congressman Peter Peyser Memorial Award’ recognizes an individual whose commitment, vision and leadership have moved Irvington forward with the progressive, Democratic values that Congressman Peyser brought to his positions as mayor and congressman and whose leadership has served as an inspiration for others in the community.” Etzel then presented Leyden, who served before her as IDC chair, with the inaugural award.

Annette Leyden moved to Irvington with her husband Stanley in 1972 where they raised their three daughters, Gaby, Eleanor and Vicki. Annette and Stanley worked steadfastly throughout the next three decades on behalf of countless civic causes. In the 1990’s, Annette became chair of the Irvington Democratic Committee, a position she held until Stanley’s health began to decline and the Leydens moved from Irvington to Kendal-on-Hudson in Sleepy Hollow. As a Sleepy Hollow resident and district leader, Annette has continued her dedicated civic involvement for over a decade and is a beloved and giving member of the Kendal-on-Hudson community. Etzel said, “Annette is an exemplary mentor and role model whose intelligence, guidance and warmth greatly influenced members of the community.”

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Congressman Peter Peyser was Mayor of Irvington from 1962 until 1970, and served as a Congressman in the U.S. House Representatives from 1971 until 1983. Peyser began his political career as a Republican but became, and remained, an active Democrat. He fought on World War II’s front lines as an infantry soldier during the Battle of the Bulge, Remagen Bridge Engagement and Huertgen Forest, receiving a Bronze Star medal. Peyser brought the same tenacity to Capitol Hill as a congressman and to Irvington as mayor—where, Etzel noted, “his progressive, visionary leadership led to many accomplishments that profoundly enhanced the quality of life for his constituents.”

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