Saturday, August 12, 2017
SAL Squadron Secures Operation Comfort Warrior Grant for VA Facilities
The American Legion established Operation Comfort Warriors as a mechanism to support sick and wounded warriors — including providing rehabilitation, recreational and clothing items to VA medical facilities. Recently, the New York Harbor VA Healthcare System was the latest beneficiary of OCW.
The grant was sponsored by the Windsor Terrace Sons of the American Legion Squadron #1175 of Kings County and benefitted the three campuses that make up the NY Harbor VA Healthcare System (Manhattan, Brooklyn and St. Alban’s, Queens).
Windsor Terrace Squadron Commander Joe SantaCroce served as New York Detachment Commander in 2015-16. Joe and then-Department Commander Jim Yermas both selected OCW as one of their projects and, in addition to raising money for the fund, helped spread the word of the benefits of the program throughout the state.
Toward the end of his term last year, Joe and his wife, Marie, met with Yvette Cintron, the director of Voluntary Services for the three campuses. Yvette formulated a wish list and after a few meetings, the OCW grant was born.
“Under normal circumstances, needed items must be purchased by funds donated to the facilities,” SantaCroce noted. “However, they are not allowed to formally solicit donations for their needs. As a result, the OCW grant served as a godsend for the veterans serviced by the New York Healthcare VA System, and its staff.”
Starting in April 2017, approximately $9,000.00 in equipment and apparel were received at the Brooklyn facility for distribution. Included in the grant were two 50” flat screen Smart TV’s, two 48” flat screen TV’s, 4 DVD players, 2 ping pong tables and a foosball table. Also in the shipment were accessory items for their existing pool table and the newly purchased ping pong and foosball tables. One of the 50” Smart TV’s is being installed in the St. Alban’s Adult Rehabilitation Center and will be used to enhance their WiFi capability.
Apparel items for both men and women included dozens of sneakers, socks, t-shirts, sweatpants, belts and under garments. These apparel items are kept in reserve for needy veterans admitted to any of the three facilities.
Said SantaCroce: “It is safe to say the items provided the New York Healthcare VA were appreciated by both the staff of the hospital and the veterans who they serve.”