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  • Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    Long Island Legionnaires Donate Comfort, Rehab Items

    “It’s the act of giving – one veteran to another.”

    That’s how Operation Comfort Warrior (OCW) Program Director Bruce Drake described Suffolk County American Legion’s presentation of thousands of dollars in comfort, recreational and rehab items to the Northport VA Medical Center and Women’s Clinic on Tuesday (Nov. 24).

    American Legion donates comfort items

    Suffolk County legionnaires Dennis Madden and Linda Beecher help load VA van with bags of comfort items for veterans at Northport VA Medical Center. Photo by Steve Gravano.

    In a ceremony at Babylon American Legion Post 94, Suffolk County Commander Bill Farley and a dozen legionnaires helped load vans from the Northport VA with over 825 individual items – ranging from personal hygiene kits to sweat suits and undergarments to board games and pool table equipment to baby blankets and coloring books (for the young mom veterans). There were also a bunch of iPods being delivered separately for the VA’s music therapy program.

    Bill Farley

    Bill Farley

    County Commander Farley said an $8,000 OCW grant made it possible for the local American Legion to fill the VA’s “wish list” to help veterans receiving care at the Northport facilities.

    Operation Comfort Warriors, Farley explained, is an American Legion program that provides comfort, recreational and rehab items and equipment to wounded warriors and other veterans with service-connected disabilities and ailments. OCW helps wounded warrior transitional units, VA medical facilities and even individual wounded warriors recommended by members of the American Legion. Plus, he noted, the Legion covers any administrative and overhead costs so that 100 percent of donations to OCW goes directly to helping veterans.

    “This is our 27th grant for the year,” Drake noted, with a quarter of a million dollars being dispersed.

    Farley and Drake had a busy pre-Thanksgiving weekend shopping for the items. At one Walmart store, Fraley said, they created a long line to the cash register.

    “I’ve never seen so many shopping carts in my life!”

    Added Drake: “They’re going to be happy that their needs list is crossed off.”

    The list included: iPods for the music therapy program; food supplies for morale rooms; board games, decks of cards, and pool table racks, cues and balls for recreational areas; personal hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, lotion, shaving cream, razors, tooth paste, tooth brushes, combs, hair brushes, pill boxes, nail clippers, deodorant, sanitary napkins; clothing such as sweat suits, undergarments, slippers, socks, long sleeve tee shirts, women’s tee shirts, women’s pajamas, and hats, scarves and gloves; baby and child items for young moms such as baby blankets and hats, and coloring books.