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Photo courtesy of State Senator Marty Golden
Photo courtesy of State Senator Marty Golden
State Senator Marty Golden.

One local politician will spend part of Memorial Day Weekend jumping out of an airplane for charity.

On Saturday, May 26, the 2018 SkyDive for Vets – the first event of its kind in New York – will see four skydiving teams parachuting from planes to raise funds and awareness for wounded veterans.

Among them will be Special Guest Skydiver State Senator Marty Golden.

“It is truly an honor to be teaming up with the Road Home Foundation, and James McClelland of my staff, to take part in this unique fundraising event to support our veterans,”  said Golden, who represents a portion of southern Brooklyn including parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach. “I am looking forward to taking the leap in honor of all those who have served our nation, and bring awareness and financial support to help care for our heroes. As a member of the State Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Military and Veteran Affairs, this event further highlights my continued strong support for the brave men and women who have served our country.”

Golden will join his staffer McClelland, a former combat engineer in the United States Army who is heading his own team. Other jump team leaders include Marvin Jeffcoat, U.S. Army; Carlos Alvarez, U.S. Army; and Juan Carlos Regua, U.S. Marines.

The team that raises the most money will be awarded with a special prize on the day of the event.

The event has special meaning to McClelland.

“Veterans understand the meaning of ‘no one left behind.’ This is applicable to the battlefield as well as the struggle to transition back to civilian life. The Skydive for Vets event is a unique way to raise money for a worthy charitable organization like the Road Home Foundation for Wounded Warriors and raise awareness for veteran issues,” he said. “As a veteran I want to give special thanks to my boss and good friend Senator Golden for his participation and everything he does for veterans.”

Event proceeds will benefit the Road Home Foundation, a Staten Island-based organization founded by Alex Marrocca after his son Brendan was severely injured by a roadside bomb while serving with the United States Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009.

The foundation, founded in 2014, focuses on assisting primarily injured veterans from the War on Terror with their transition through rehabilitation and into civilian life. It assists with everything from education and training to housing, transportation and improving the veterans’ overall quality of life.

“What we do is we raise funds and we try to help out injured veterans,” Marrocca told this paper adding that what happened to his son may have inspired him to start the foundation, but those that he’s helped since have only continued to motivate him. “Our goal is to get these veterans past today’s problems so that they can look forward to the future.”

As for the event, Marrocca said he’s looking forward to cheering jumpers on – especially the southern Brooklyn pol.

“We appreciate State Senator Marty Golden’s efforts in drawing attention to the plight of wounded veterans and everyone from the jump team for, number one, raising awareness and, number two, raising funds so that we can make a difference in these veterans’ lives. That’s what we try to do.”

It was McClelland that made the connection between the group and the event.

“When I heard from James that they were looking for an organization to donate to, I turned around and I offered whatever I could do to help him make the event a success,” Marrocca said. “We ended up partnering up and here we are. We couldn’t be more thankful.”

“I look forward to falling out of an airplane with the senator,” said McClelland. “I also want to thank everyone for their generous contributions and supporting this event.”

The event’s main sponsor is New York Right Now. Others include Connors & Sullivan, the Law Enforcement Officers Security Unions of D.C. and Lally & Misir, LLP.

The jump will take place at Skydive Long Island, 135 Dawn Drive in Shirley, New York at noon. Training will begin at 11 a.m.

For more information or to donate, visit www.skydiveforvets.com.

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