Members of the American Legion Post 1682 gathered Monday night to present a $4,000 check to the Wounded Warrior Project. Robert Loria of Port Jervis, a volunteer with the Wounded Warrior Project said the donation would help the many wounded veterans who live in the area.
Dan Novotny, a past command of the New City post said the fundraiser was a joint effort of the American Legion and the Sons of the American Legion with assistance from the Clarkstown Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which paid for the raffle ticket printing. Novotny said the idea to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) came from Bill Carton, a town mechanic who maintains police department vehicles.
“On the 50/50, we raised over $4,000,” said Novotny, adding the ticket sales took place over five months. “Everyone chipped in to make it a success.”
Richard Martishek, post treasurer and past commander, said “We’ll probably have a fundraiser every year for them.”
“Next year we’re going to do the exact same thing but we’re going to promote it,” said Novotny. “Next year we’re hoping to double that ($4,000).”
The other post officers, Mike Abbatine, Frank Prestipino and John Wallace, said they wanted to host members of the project at next year’s BBQ.
A former combat engineer, Loria, lost part of his left arm in February 2004. He was injured when an IED went off near his soft shell Humvee. Loria said he benefitted from the assistance of WWP and started as a volunteer about three months after he was seriously injured. He said the program began in 2003 when a volunteer filled backpacks with basic necessities for injured soldiers and brought them to Walter Reade Medical Center. When he returned home that day there was a message waiting for him requesting additional backpacks.
Loria said programs help soldiers wounded physically and suffering from mental or emotional stress. WWP offers TRACK, which enables individuals who have been injured to go back to school and take classes with their peers. It is the first educational center in the country dedicated to Wounded Warriors and has two locations in Florida and Texas.
Loria said the project also helps wounded soldiers have experiences they may have missed. In his case, he went snowboarding for the first time.
“It’s a great organization, “ he said. “I love it.”
Wounded Warrior Project ® serves military service members who incurred service-connected wounds, injuries, or illnesses on or after September 11, 2001 and their families.