One of the longest tenured members of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization ended her time with the organization Thursday, as her colleagues praised her knowledge and dedication.
Kathleen B. Mastellon, the organization’s administrative assistant, said she would like her legacy to be that she made the organization more professional and transparent.
“I hope I’ve always had a smile for people,” she said.
Mrs. Mastellon has seen the post’s rise over 26 years between the organization and its predecessor, the Fort Drum Steering Council.
“It is incredible the amount of institutional knowledge that resides with that one lady,” said Carl A. McLaughlin, the organization’s executive director.
The Long Island native has lived in the north country with her husband, Kevin T. Mastellon, since 1980.
Mr. Mastellon also has been involved in multiple positions with the organization since its inception in 1990, and stepped down earlier this year at the end of his term on its board of directors.
Mrs. Mastellon said she felt it was the “right thing to do” to help out with the council and educate people about the benefits of an expanded military presence in the area.
“It was important to me to see this do well for the community and for the Army,” she said.
Mrs. Mastellon said the community has benefitted from Fort Drum’s growth with expanded services, business and diversity.
Terrence L. Roche, the post’s former garrison commander, described Mrs. Mastellon as very conscious of the need to keep the community informed about what was happening involving the post.
“She brought a lot of zeal to the whole Fort Drum expansion,” Mr. Roche said. “She recognized the expansion for what it meant for this community.”
He also praised her attention to detail.
“If a paper clip couldn’t be accounted for, you better let her know,” Mr. Roche said.
Michael T. Plummer, president of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, called her the “heart and soul” of the FDRLO.
“If you didn’t have her, you’d have to hire 10 people,” Mr. Plummer said.
F. Anthony Keating, civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, said he was impressed by her memory of area’s history.
“She was able to recall what history was applicable for any situation,” Mr. Keating said. “Much of that was invaluable.”
Mrs. Mastellon said she would remember the friendships she had made with Fort Drum leadership and their families, many of whom she said she still keeps in touch with. She said she was also happy to have been able to be in attendance during visits to post by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Mrs. Mastellon said she would take advantage of her new time to spend time with her daughter, three grandchildren and parents.
“Maybe I’ll get to sleep in every once in a while,” she said.
Though she will be stepping down from the organization, Mrs. Mastellon likely will still have an impact on the community. In August she accepted a part-time role as foundation manager for the Sacred Heart Foundation. She said she and her husband will dedicate more time to their church, St. Patrick’s Parish.