Yorktown, NY - We all have had someone in our lives who inspired us to strive for greater heights. For Paula Miritello, that person was her late brother, Vincent. He lived his life with cerebral palsy before passing away in 2000, but refused to be defined by his disability.
In honor of her brother, Ms. Miritello founded My Brother Vinny in June 2013. The organization responds to the needs of former enlisted men and women by bringing furniture and housewares to homeless veterans looking to furnish their new homes.
My Brother Vinny recently helped its 500th veteran, a former member of the Air Force now living in the Bronx. In recognition of this historic milestone, Senator Terrence Murphy visited Ms. Miritello's office at Yorktown Storage on October 25th to present her with a proclamation in honor of her dedication to helping veterans.
"My Brother Vinny is a truly amazing organization. You have shown the value and effectiveness of working together as a team. You are changing veterans' lives by making a difference," said Senator Murphy. "No other organization provides for our veterans in the way that My Brother Vinny does. You have helped veterans build homes for themselves, but more importantly you have shown them the compassion they deserve."
"I cannot believe how far we have progressed since our first move," said Ms. Miritello. We have reached this milestone by working together with a strong passion in our hearts to help everyone we support in memory of my youngest brother, Vincent. Setting up our 500th Veteran this week makes it all even more special, since October 25th is the seventeenth anniversary of Vincent's passing. On this special day, I am thankful that we are continuing our mission of 'helping mankind, one good deed at time.'"
Yorktown Town Councilman Ed Lachterman, a supporter of My Brother Vinny since its inception, was on hand to offer his congratulations. "I have never met another person with ten times the drive of the Energizer Bunny. It has been an honor to work with My Brother Vinny, and think this is a charity that we should all support. It is important to give back to our veterans, and My Brother Vinny stands in the forefront of providing a unique and valuable service to the men and women who have protected our country."
Senator Murphy also recognized Yorktown Self Storage and Carmel Rotary Club Foundation for their support of My Brother Vinny. The Carmel Rotary Club Foundation made a generous donation of $7,900 to My Brother Vinny toward the purchase of a 16-foot cargo trailer. Members of the Rotary have also volunteered to help veterans move into their new homes. Yorktown Storage has become My Brother Vinny's headquarters - the organization has 10 storage units and an office at its Yorktown location.
Ms. Miritello's has her own army of volunteers (many of whom were helped by My Brother Vinny), who pick up and deliver the beds, couches, tables, dressers, chairs, dishes, and household items. Much of the furniture she and her crews deliver comes from hotels undergoing renovations or movie sets.
In May 2017, Senator Terrence Murphy honored Ms. Miritello's volunteer work by presenting her with the New York State Senate 2017 Woman of Distinction Award. The award is given to outstanding women living and working in New York State whose contributions have greatly enriched the quality of life in their communities.