BAY RIDGE — A pre-Veterans Day brunch, hosted by the Brooklyn Young Republicans Club was held on Saturday, Nov. 9 to honor veterans for their service to our country. All veterans were invited to the annual free brunch at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, 9511 Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge.
Among the community leaders attending to break bread with the vets were former State Sen. Marty Golden; New York State Conservative Party Chair Jerry Kassar; Brooklyn Conservative Party Chair Fran Vella-Marrone; Vito Bruno, president of the Edmund G. Seergy Republican Club; and Brooklyn GOP Executive Director Stephen Maresca.
“It was a wonderful event to be at because it honored those who have given a significant part of their lives to our country,” said Maresca. “But today they are not given as much recognition as they should be given.”
Andrew Windsor, vice president of the Young Republicans Club, said that the idea for the brunch came about 10 years ago after the death of his grandfather, who had served during the Korean War. “My father ended up hosting a veterans breakfast like this in 2009 with Fran. And then we ended up having it under Sen. Marty Golden a couple of years ago and now we’ve picked up the mantle with the Brooklyn Young Republicans.”
According to Windsor, anyone 18 to 40 years old can be a member of the Young Republicans.
“Today we’re working in tandem with the Kings County GOP and the Kings County Conservative Party, so it’s not so much taking over but rather passing a torch and trying to work alongside them. As much as they hit on the entire demographic, we’re trying to hit on the youth vote and really connect with all types of demographics here.”
Windsor said he could not have done it alone and thanked Vella-Marrone for all her help in planning the event.
“We’re happy to co-sponsor the event today,” said Vella-Marrone. “And most of all, we want to pay tribute to all of you veterans, because frankly if not for all of you and your service, none of us would be here. We wouldn’t be enjoying this food. We wouldn’t be enjoying this fellowship. It’s because of your sacrifice that we are here,” she added.
Vella-Marrone said that they plan on doing the brunch every year and making it bigger and better.
Richard Barsamian spoke on behalf of the Brooklyn Republican Party and its Chair Ted Ghorra. “It is impossible for us to repay our debt of gratitude to you,” said Barsamian.
“All of you, in one way, in one shape or another, answered the call of duty to safeguard our freedoms,” he told the veterans. “Regardless of when it was or where it was, each and every one of you made a sacrifice, your families made a sacrifice to protect us, to protect our democracy and to guarantee our freedoms. We are forever in your debt and we honor you for your service to our nation. It is an absolute honor for me to be with you in this room today.”
Kassar said that he was especially proud to be at this event. “As the son of a veteran, and from a family of many veterans, what this means to me is that we are paying appropriate tribute to individuals who have served our country to protect freedom and liberty. These are individuals who understand that you kneel for God and you stand for the flag,” he added.