Local war vet, community leader passes away


FRANKFORT, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Vietnam War veteran, and leader of the African American community of Utica died on Sept. 28.

Harold J. McLeod, of Frankfort, died with his family by his side, and with a full lifetime of achievements.

Originally from South Carolina, where he was born on Sept. 6, 1940, McLeod became heavily tied to the Utica community, where he graduated from Utica Free Academy in 1958.

Following his graduation, McLeod entered the Army, where he served in the Vietnam War as a crew launcher instructor.

After he was honorably discharged in 1963, he went on to study at MVCC and Syracuse University before becoming the first African American appointed to the Oneida County Sheriff's Department.

With the Sheriff's Department, he served as the executive director of the Oneida County Veterans Agency, and interim executive director of the Cosmopolitan Center.

He was also heavily involved in the local black community, serving as the chairman of the Oneida County Branch of the NAACP Veteran's Committee.

McLeod also appeared regularly on WKTV's airwaves, providing the area with the "Black Community Report," thus becoming the first black television moderator in the region.

McLeod had a major impact on both the AfricanAmerican and  the war veterans' community during his lifetime.

In appreciation of his accomplishments and contributions to the area, Aug. 10 was proclaimed "Harold McLeod Day" in 2002.

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