Tag Archives: American Legion

Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day march to honor Vietnam vets


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Vietnam War veterans and the city’s top veterans’ advocate will be recognized in a special way during the 85th Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.

Regarded as the largest Memorial Day march in the country, the parade will feature as many as a dozen bands including the West Point marching band from the U.S. Military Academy. This year’s march will place additional emphasis on Vietnam War veterans, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of American involvement in the conflict. More than 58,200 American soldiers died in the decade-long war.

“We felt it was long past time to specially honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice there and those who bear the memory of their fallen brothers and sisters,” said Douglas Montgomery, who co-chairs the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Association.

Leading this year’s march as grand marshal will be Dr. Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, who also is a retired Army brigadier general. Sutton served as the command surgeon for the Multinational Force in Iraq and was previously deployed to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt. She earned various military honors including the Bronze Star Medal, the Presidential Service Badge (White House Fellow) and the Legion of Merit.

The association will also honor Douglaston resident Carl F. Mattone, president of Mattone Group LLC, as its man of the year. Along with developing numerous large-scale projects throughout Queens, Mattone contributes to his alma mater, Holy Cross High School, and various charitable organizations including the Queens Library Foundation, the Italian Charities of America, the Order of Sons of Italy, the American Cancer Society, the Queens Museum of Art and the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program at College Point’s P.S. 129.

Lidia Bastianich, the Emmy-winning host of her own PBS cooking show and Douglas Manor resident, will also be recognized as the association’s woman of the year. Bastianich opened her first restaurant in Forest Hills, and over the years expanded her culinary empire across the country. Like Mattone, she is active in a host of charitable causes, providing support to the Bowery Mission, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, the Global Orphan Project, the Italian American Committee on Education and the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

The association will also recognize Jerry Vilbig with its community service award. Vilbig served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War and is presently vice commander of American Legion Post 103 in Douglaston, which sponsored the first Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade. He is an active member of the Udall’s Cove Preservation Society board of directors.

Scheduled to take place rain or shine, the march steps off at 2 p.m. on May 25 in Great Neck from the corner of Northern Boulevard and Jayson Avenue. Participants will head west along Northern Boulevard to the yard of St. Anastasia’s Church, located near Northern Boulevard and 245th Street.

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Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center finds temporary location after building damage


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center has found a temporary location after the building was damaged, but leaders still say there’s no place like home.

The center, which is operated by Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, recently moved to the American Legion Post 118 at 89-02 91st Street after a building adjacent to the center’s location on Jamaica Avenue collapsed, damaging the roof and kitchen.

“We were concerned about the winter months with the snow and rain,” said Judith Kleve, vice president of Older Adult Services at Catholic Charities. “We are very relieved that the American Legion opened their doors to us.”

The center, which is funded by the city’s Department for the Aging, has more than 200 seniors enrolled and about 70 visit daily.

The staff prepares free meals every day and organizes exercise programs, including yoga and dancing, and educational lectures on topics such as arthritis and diabetes. During the temporary move the center is providing shuttles from the original location.

Despite joy for the temporary site, seniors want to return to the old building soon, because the American Legion building is too small, according to Kleve. But first, owners of the collapsed building, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC, must fix it or the seniors can’t return.

“The situation is only going to get worst with the rain and snow coming,” State Senator Joe Addabbo said. “We need to get the owner to start fixing it now.”

The politician is working with other leaders to put pressure on the owners to repair the property. Addabbo met with officials from the Department of Buildings (DOB) this week to discuss the collapsed building, which has about a dozen violations and $11,000 in fines, according to the DOB.

The members of the center are hoping they can move back by next year.

“The seniors were very happy to know that the senior center was still open and that they had a safe site,” Kleve said. “But they still want to go home.”

The owners of 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC could not be reached for comment.

 

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Pol honors Queens veterans


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of State Senator Joseph Addabbo

Area veterans were honored during State Senator Joseph Addabbo’s fifth annual Veterans Barbecue on Saturday, August 24.

Last year, Addabbo, the ranking Democrat member of the Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, welcomed over 125 veterans and their families to the barbecue outside his Howard Beach district office. This year, the senator brought in and thanked over 70 veterans for their dedicated service.

“This is just our small way of saying, ‘Thank you for your service,’ not only to our local veterans, but also to their families,” Addabbo said. “All nobly served our country in years past, and of course, many are currently still doing so in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Addabbo and his staff reached out to various Queens chapters of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Catholic and Jewish War veterans and Vietnam veterans to be their special guests for the outdoor barbecue event.

“We should show our veterans that we appreciate their dedication and commitment not just on Veterans Day, but every day of the year,” Addabbo said.

 

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St. John’s University honors Queens veterans


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Nargas Karimi

They gathered to pay tribute to those who served.

            On Friday, November 11, 150 Queens Veterans attended the annual St. John’s University (SJU) Veteran’s Day Ceremony at St. Augustine Hall.

            “The last 10 years, in an effort to bring more awareness to our students that it’s Veteran’s Day, we started with inviting various units in Queens, such as the American Legion, the American Vets, Jewish War Vets and Catholic War Vets, and we built a list of about 300 people,” said SJU Vice President for Community Relations Joseph Sciame.

            “I’ve been deployed to Iraq three times and was there for a total of 32 months. I just got back home in June,” said veteran Jonathan Blake, who’s also in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.

Saluting those who served


| jlane@queenscourier.com

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After serving their country, the veterans of Post 298 of the American Legion came home to serve their community.

To honor them, Councilmember Daniel Dromm visited the post, located at 30-61 87th Street in Jackson Heights, on September 19 and presented eight veterans with City Council Citations for their outstanding work towards the betterment of the neighborhood.

The councilmember, who sits on the City Council’s Committee on Veterans, praised the honorees and expressed gratitude for their contributions.

“It is important to remember the extraordinary sacrifices you have made,” Dromm told the veterans. “Now, it is our duty to ensure that we continue to provide the care and benefits that you deserve for serving our country.”

The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization, founded to benefit those who served during a wartime period.

The members of Post 298 were proud to host the councilmember and apreciative of the recognition he bestowed upon them.

“I think it was fantastic to have the councilmember here,” said John Polidoro, a Vietnam veteran and the commander of the American Legion Post 298. “He is constantly fighting for the city to recognize its veterans and to improve their benefits. I feel like he is attuned with what veterans have done. He was very gracious, and we were honored to have him. He was the absolute perfect person to come and meet with us.”