To the Editor:
On a quiet residential street in Delmar lays a building known to only a few. It’s home to the Nathaniel Adams Blanchard Post of the American Legion.
Nearly 800 members comprised of Legionaries, the American Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion remain constantly busy serving and giving back to the community. From breakfast buffets, to free dinners for vets, to music concerts, to rentals of their banquet hall, it’s all done by volunteers.
While there is not an actual tally of the thousands of volunteer hours it takes to run these organizations and their programs, there certainly is a measure of their success. Even in a down economy, the Blanchard Post has found ways to continue to raise funds that it returns to the community. In 2012, the post raised the amazing sum of $31,715.
In a recent interview, Legion Commander Steve Riedel, a Marine veteran and retired Navy Seebee [member of the Construction Battalion, or CB], said, “Giving back to programs that support our veterans is incredibly rewarding. For years we have supported Freedom Flight, which brings World War II veterans to the Memorial in Washington, D.C. This year, our donation to that one initiative exceeded $6,000. The tears, followed by smiles, takes your breath away as you listen to a World War II vet describe the trip.”
Vietnam-era Veteran Phil Giacone, who serves as the chairman of the board explains, “While we are here to support America’s veterans and current servicemen and women, we recognize that, when we served, Americans were there to support us. It’s only appropriate that we return the favor and give back to the community. Most of our community-based giving is focused on children. They are our future.”
The Blanchard Post made the following donations in 2012:
— Stratton Veterans Affairs Hospital programs, $3,400;
— Freedom Flight, $6,175;
— Shea Scholarship Fund, $3,365;
— Home for Joe, $2,575;
— Veterans in Need, $1,000;
— American Legion Baseball, $2,500;
— Veterans’ programs, $4,800;
— Boys’ State and Girls’ State, $1,650;
— Care packages to servicemen, $1,000;
— Boy Scouts Troop 58, $1,500;
— Scholarships, $1,100;
— Tri-Village Little League, $1,100; and
— Community groups, $1,550.
The community groups we support include Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, the Bethlehem Community Fund, Community Hospice, the Diabetes Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Bethlehem Youth Court, the Slingerlands Fire Department, and the Bethlehem Central High School graduation party.
So, the next time you hear of an event at the Blanchard Post of the American Legion, know that your participation will benefit both community and veterans programs and will go a long way to support our veterans and active duty military personnel.
The Blanchard Post is always looking for qualified members to join. For information on how to join, so you, too, can help, visit our website at: www.nabpost1040.us.
Sons of the American Legion