This tradition continued on Saturday, April 8 at the Elk’s Club, as hundreds of Hobokenites came out in support of Hoboken American Legion Post 107 and their ongoing initiative to house homeless veterans in our area.
“The post is raising money to tear down the existing post (which was extensively damaged in Superstorm Sandy) and rebuild a brand new post with meeting space for Vets as well as six units of housing for homeless veterans,” says Joe Mindak of the Hoboken Rotary Club, which coordinated the event. “The total campaign is for $1,000,000. The rest of the funds come from grants and government funding.”
According to Mindak, Saturday’s event raised over $10,000 toward the effort.
“We have to do better in taking care of our Veterans,” says American Legion Post 107 Commander John Carey. “We must always thank these young men and women for serving their country. They give up so much in doing so—disruption to family, deployments that put them in harm’s way not once but sometimes two or three times in just a few years; resulting in many cases of divorce, family breakups and even suicide.”
Carey knows firsthand of what he speaks. “The servicemen and women that served during Vietnam were never thanked for their service. There is nothing like those two little words ‘Thank You’ for serving. Remember—today it’s a ALL VOLUNTEER ARMY. Yet any come home dealing not only with physical wounds but mental as well.”
Mindak has a long track record of raising funds and awareness for the Hoboken American Legion. “I’ve always had total respect for the people that risked their lives to fight for our country,” he says. “I think a lot of us forget why we have the freedom we have because of them. This is just a little way of saying thank you.”
The event last week featured and open bar with food by Frankie & Ava’s, and three live bands—Adam Levine, followed by Undercover and The Counterfeiters.
Both Carey and Post 107’s Mark Villamar spoke of the necessity behind their efforts. Hoboken humorist Adam Wade was on hand as well, accompanying his good friend Vinnie Wassman on stage. Wassman, 92, is a veteran of both World War II and the Korean Conflict. He has called Hoboken home his entire life.