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  • Tuesday, January 03, 2017

    Legion, SAL Bring $6,000 Worth of Comfort Items to VA Vets

    Members of the Legion and Sons of the American Legion (SAL) went shopping with Operation Comfort Warrior (OCW) Program Director Bruce Drake before Christmas to purchase $6,000 worth of comfort and recreational items for veterans at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center.

    The shoppers included Canandaigua Post 256 Commander Don Grundke, whose post secured the OCW grant; SAL Detachment Commander J. Bruce Ruthven; Rena Nessler, leading candidate for department commander; Jim Coates, Detachment Vice Commander for Districts 7 & 8, and Gabe Cinquegrana, Detachment PR chair and Canandiagua Squadron 256 OCW liaison.

    Don Grundke, Gabe Cinquegrana and J. Bruce Ruthven hold a register receipt from their shopping trip for comfort items for VA vets – thanks to an Operation Comfort Warrior grant.

    As the Canandaigua Daily Messenger put it: “If you were out shopping in Canandaigua Wednesday (Dec. 21) and you saw a group of American Legion members filling carts – seven overflowing carts at Walmart alone – you witnessed shoppers on a key mission.”

    As the shoppers and their goods filled the Voluntary Service office at the Canandaigua VA, Cinquegrana told the newspaper that a number of programs at the VA would receive the items. The programs serve vets in numerous areas including hospice care, recreation, various therapies and homeless outreach.

    “All the shopping was done locally at stores including Seager Marine, Roseland Bowl Family Fun Center, Canandaigua Theaters, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Bed Bath and Beyond,” the paper reported.

    J. Bruce Ruthven and Jim Coates help deliver items to the VA.

    “Cinquegrana said veterans were asked about their needs and encouraged to ‘think out of the box’. While many purchases were ordinary items such as paper products, blue jeans, bed pillows and cleaning products, there were electronic devices like the iPod Shuffle, appliances such as a microwave and mini-refrigerator, and recreational equipment that included water tubes.”

    Drake noted that this was the second OCW grant allocated in the Department of New York in 2016, and the first benefiting the Canandaigua VA.

    The American Legion’s OCW program is dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded, injured or ill military personnel and veterans by providing comfort items not usually supplied by the government.

    SAL Detachment Commander J. Bruce Ruthven (center) and SAL Squadron OCW liaison Gabe Cinquegrana make presentetion to Robin Johnson, Canandaigua VA Voluntary Services director.

    The buying team included, from left, SAL Detachment Commander J. Bruce Ruthven; Canandaigua Post Commander Don Grundke; Canandaiagua Squadron OCW liaison Gabe Cinquegrana; Rena Nessler, leading candidate for Department commander; and Jim Coates, Detachment vice commander (Districts 7&8).