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Rotary Club Hosts BBQ for Veterans at Brooklyn VA Medical Center

It was the perfect weather for an afternoon picnic on Saturday, Sept. 29 when members of the Rotary Club hosted a barbecue for veterans at the Brooklyn VA Medical Center in Dyker Heights.

The Rotary Club routinely gives back to the community. Members happily donated all the food and beverages as a way of saying thanks to our ailing veterans.

For this event, the Rotary Club of Verrazano partnered with the Rotary Club of Ronkonkoma and member Lonnie Sherman, founder and president of General Needs, an organization that serves homeless veterans.

Sherman, who has been in the insurance and financial planning industry for over 30 years, wanted to give back to those less fortunate.

Sherman said these monthly events can feed up to 200 veterans on average, and during the upcoming holidays they will help feed between 500 and 1,000 veterans.

“Last year we fed 3,800 veterans,” Sherman told this paper. “General Needs is the organization that started this program approximately 10 years ago in East Northport, Long Island before it eventually spread to the other Rotary clubs.”

“I am very proud to be part of this organization,” said Rotary Club of Verrazano member Ralph Succar. “It’s a pleasure to work with General Needs and the Rotary Club of Ronkonkoma in putting this barbecue together today. Hopefully we will be participating in many more of these events, as well as upcoming clothing drives. It’s all about the needs of the veterans and we want to thank them for their service and thank them for everything that they do for us.”

The 41-year-old Rotary Club of Verrazano is one of more than 30,000 rotary clubs in 160 countries worldwide. It works to help feed the hungry, procure open heart surgeries for children overseas and support a variety of local projects.

In Bay Ridge, it distributes free turkeys at Thanksgiving to the needy and to the families of service members at Fort Hamilton Army Base.

Members also sponsor toy drives at Christmas for the children of the soldiers at Fort Hamilton and support local community groups including the Guild for Exceptional Children and HeartShare Human Services of New York.

Recently, the Rotary Club donated $10,000 in aid to the Puerto Rican relief efforts following Hurricane Maria.

Succar explained the Rotary Club’s motto is “Service Above Self.”

“That means it’s all about the service that we provide for others,” Succar said. “It’s not about us.”

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