DYKER HEIGHTS — In a gesture aimed at raising awareness of the work done by veterans’ organizations, the Dyker Heights Civic Association made a pre-Thanksgiving donation to a local American Legion Post.
Civic association President Fran Vella-Marrone presented a check to John Cullen, service officer of the Coffey-Wilson American Legion Post # 688, at the association’s Nov. 12 meeting. U.S. Army Maj. Juan Diaz, the post commander, was also on hand at the meeting.
“It was a small gesture. But I know they can use the help,” Vella-Marrone told the Home Reporter. She did not disclose the amount of the donation.
“They were so grateful. I think they’re going to use it to help some of the younger veterans who can’t afford to pay the dues,” Vella-Marrone said.
Diaz said the post was founded decades ago but was relatively inactive for many years until 2017, when a serious effort was mounted to revitalize the chapter. “We’re doing great,” he told the Home Reporter. “We have about 100 members.”
The post holds its meetings on the last Thursday of each month and is eager to welcome new members, according to Cullen, who said the meetings take place at the Fort Hamilton Community Club located at the Fort Hamilton Army Base.
The donation was part of a civic association tradition. Each year around the holiday season, the organization makes a donation to a charity or non-profit group that provides help to residents in need.
“We try to look for a different group each year,” Vella-Marrone said. In the past, the civic association has recognized organizations such as Reaching-Out Community Services Inc., which operates a food pantry.
Vella-Marrone got the idea to donate to the Coffey-Wilson Post while attending a breakfast salute to military veterans organized by the Brooklyn Young Republicans Club that took place at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Bay Ridge on Nov. 9.
“I thought ‘Why not give to the American Legion?’ It’s appropriate for us to thank veterans. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the freedoms we have,” she said.
The timing was perfect, according to Vella-Marrone, who said the civic association’s meeting took place the day after Veterans Day.