In celebration of Valentine's Day, Marine Corps veteran and New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) distributed special gifts to residents at the New York State Veterans Home at St. Albans on February 7, 2019.
"Valentine's Day is a celebration of love and affection, a golden opportunity to let our veterans know that we care about them and that they are not forgotten," Sanders said. “It is always a great joy for me to thank them for their service to our country and to offer them a small token of our appreciation.”
Sanders distributed greeting cards, home made crafts, artwork, gloves, hats, scarves, socks and other items which were donated by The New York Racing Association (NYRA), East New York 7th Day Adventist Church (Brooklyn), Complete Girlz Inc. (Jamaica), PS 252 (Far Rockaway), Success Academy (Far Rockaway), The Bayswater School (Far Rockaway), St. Francis De Sales Catholic Academy (Belle Harbor), PS 176 (Cambria Heights), Rosedale-Laurelton American Legion Post 483 (Rosedale), Lebanon 7th Day Adventist Church (Laurelton), DIY Youth / Renegades (Springfield Gardens), and St. John's Upward Bound at John Adams High School (Ozone Park). Gifts were also contributed by community members and local residents.
“I would like to extend a special thank you to all of our donors, without whom this event would not have been possible,” Sanders said. “Their generosity and commitment to helping this community will not soon be forgotten. I would also like to thank the New York State Veterans Home at St. Albans for their hospitality and allowing us to use their space to interact with their residents.”
Also in attendance at the event were: William McDonald, Commander of the Rosedale-Laurelton American Legion Post 483, Edward Davis, Chaplain of the Rosedale-Laurelton American Legion Post 483, Army Veteran and Jamaica Resident, Kathy Dean, Barbara Richards Oti of DIY Youth / Renegades, whose group members created hand-made buttons, cards and wreaths for the veterans, and long-time volunteer with Senator Sanders' Office, Ms. Lucille Fowler.
The patients at the New York State Veterans Home at St. Albans have served in either World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, or Gulf War and have suffered a service-related injury that requires skilled nursing care. Others are dependents of military personnel, who receive medical or rehabilitative care. Residents range in age from 45 to 100 years old, and their stay can last anywhere from 6-8 weeks to the rest of their lives.
In addition to the Valentine's Day themed activities, one of the residents of the NYS Home who was in attendance, Mr. Isaac Rodriguez Vasquez, a Vietnam-era Army Vet was celebrating his 70th birthday. He received balloons in addition to the gifts and everyone, including Senator Sanders, sang "Happy Birthday" to him in honor of his special day.