Paula Miritello had a chance meeting with an elderly veteran at an Armed Forces Day event and was inspired to establish “My Brother Vinny,” named in honor of her special needs brother. The charitable organization furnishes apartments for formerly homeless veterans.
The veteran told Ms. Miritello he was excited to leave the VA hospital and live on his own, but he had no furniture. She learned that many veterans who leave homeless shelters and find affordable permanent housing can barely cover their expenses. They often move in with just the clothes on their backs, and without amenities like a bed, linens, a kitchen table or chairs.
Ms. Miritello recruited a group of volunteers, and in June 2013, My Brother Vinny assisted its first veteran. Since then, the organization has helped over 420 veterans and plans to reach out to 500 veterans by the end of 2017.
These veterans have a profound sense of pride but welcome the services and care provided by My Brother Vinny. As Ms. Miritello has said, they are not offering a handout; they are offering a hand in friendship and support.
My Brother Vinny is a 100% volunteer organization that serves the Hudson Valley and beyond, engaging volunteers from all ages, ethnicities and community groups, including the Lions Club, local Rotaries and the Girl Scouts.
In addition to assisting United States veterans, My Brother Vinny holds an annual walk to help local animal shelters and rescue groups in support of animal welfare. It coordinates various community events that assist those with emotional, physical and intellectual disabilities, and delivers gifts to over 140 adult home residents and to children attending low income community centers.
Ms. Miritello’s motto of “helping mankind one good deed at a time” is a testament to My Brother Vinny’s continued positive impact on the lives of veterans, others in need, and the volunteers who serve them.