The Italian American War Veterans Joseph J. Gentile Post 2 sponsored an Italian luncheon on April 9 for 26 residents of the Hines VA Hospital Blind Center.
A team of 15 volunteers and five high school students hosted the event, distributing colorful fedoras and decorating the party room with festive wall banners and tablecloths. A sumptuous buffet catered by Paul’s Pizza of Westchester was served. Mike Oliveri and Arthur Strout performed live music in a style reminiscent of Frank Sinatra. Festivities closed with delicious handcrafted cannoli and homemade Italian watermelon ice. Bellissimo!
ITAM Post 2 was chartered in 1981 with a mandate to serve veterans, their families and the community. “We offer an array of programs that extend support and helping hands to those in need,” said commander Joe Spiner. “All activities are paid for by the post through a robust fundraising campaign, plus an annual pasta party chaired by Frank Giudice and Jerry Saviano,” said fundraising chairman Joe Leonardo.
Other activities on behalf of veterans include sports outings, bingo, collecting? clothing and funds for veteran homeless shelters, sponsorship of Honor Flights and Vets Rolls trips to Washington D.C., plus eight years of weekly welcome wagons and coffee runs for outpatients. As advocates for benefits for veterans and families, the post sponsored seven hospice rooms, contributed to the spinal cord injury unit, and raised substantial funds for the Blind Center’s rooms and equipment expansion. The first of its kind when it opened in 1948, the Blind Center offers vocational and domestic skills training to its residents.
Community service includes donating toys, clothing and puppet shows to a disabled children’s early childhood center and providing five annual college scholarships. “This is who we are and what we do,” noted fundraising co-chairman Jimmie McFarland. “We thank all veterans for service to our country.”
—Article by Donna Spiner, Photos by Lynn McKamey