L.I. ABATE Veterans Dinner

Long Island ABATE Disburses $128,000 in Donations to Local Veterans Organizations on Long Island.

Article by Nancy “Gee” Greenseich
Long Island ABATE 2nd Vice President/Website/Newsletter Editor
Photos by Ron Monteleone

On Tuesday October 10, 2017, Long Island ABATE had a special ceremony at the VFW Post 4927 at 31 Horseblock Road, in Centereach, to present donations totaling $128,000. The donations were raised and matched by Long Island ABATE members, supporters and three benefactors from the Veterans Appreciation Run to Montauk back on June 11th, as well as two fundraiser events.  Long Island ABATE would like to thank Mike Osip for hosting the Flag Day Event in June at the Riverhead Polish Hall, which raised $3100 towards the Veterans Appreciation Run.  Long Island ABATE would also like to thank Dee Bonacasa and Popei’s Clam Bar in Coram. Popei’s held a fundraiser and presented Dee with a $2500 check.  Dee decided to pay it forward and chose Long Island ABATE to donate it to.  And lastly thanks to all the members who filled Bill’s Vet Jug at the monthly meetings, and who made online donations.

Guests and members were invited to come at 7pm for a free hot and cold buffet dinner.  The ceremony started with the Marine Corps Veterans of Long Island presenting arms, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence for all our past, current and future soldiers and Veterans.  Afterwards, a prayer was given by Pastor Gerry of the Rushing Wind Biker Church.  After the prayer, Bill Quinn asked Veterans of each branch to stand as well as the Vietnam Veterans.  The poem, “Bury Me with Soldiers”, was then read by Angelique Graziano. Angelique is an 11th grader from the Bellport High School, who is Vice President of her class and has been helping with the Vets Run for many years.

Long Island ABATE was honored to have the following guests present at the event. Those in attendance were Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Legislators Tom Muratore and Kate Browning, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquardo, and Brookhaven Council Members Michael Logercio and Valerie Cartwright. LW Murphy represented New York State Senator Tom Croci.

Afterwards, Long Island ABATE’s Treasurer Bill Quinn, (who is also the chairperson for the Veterans Run to Montauk and a USMC Veteran) along with President, Jim Barr, and other Board members, presented the donations. Bill spoke briefly, explaining what each organization did for Veterans. Donations were given out to the following: The VA Medical Center in Northport, US Veterans MC LI Chapter, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 11,  Patriot Guard Riders NY Region 9, Blue Star Mom’s Chapter 6, Blue Star Mom’s Chapter 12, Centereach VFW Post 4927, Marine Corps Veterans of LI, Elks Lodge Riverhead, American Legion 273 Riverhead, Marine Corps League Suffolk County Detachment, Coalition of Fraternal and Veteran Organizations, Leathernecks MC Long Island, Paws of War, Sea Cadets of Farmingdale, Project 9 Line, Meals of Honor, American Legion Post 924 Hampton Bays, Patchogue VFW Post 2913, American Legion Post 694 Northport,  American Legion Post 1244 Greenlawn,  FDNY 343 Ride,  Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior,  Spc. Matthew Baylis Memorial Scholarship Fund, AMVETS Chapter 1174, AMVETS Chapter 48 Ladies Auxiliary, Angel Bikes for Project Miller and the LI ABATE Bike, Sayville VFW Post 433, Riverhead VFW Post 2476, Farmingville VFW Post 400, Rocky Point VFW Post 6249, The Beacon House, In Jordan’s Honor, The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, American Legion Post 1533 Mastic Beach, American Legion Post 1636 Brooklyn, American Legion Post 1033 Elmont, American Legion Post 651 Sayville and the Nassau County United Veterans. Lastly, Bill called up Dee and Lily Bonacasa, the widow and daughter of Staff Sergeant Louis Bonacasa, and their family. A check was presented to the DAV Transportation of Northport to be put towards a new DAV van in honor and memory of Airforce National Guard SSGT. Louis Bonacasa who was killed in Afghanistan.

After the ceremony was over, Bills Vet Jug was passed around the room and $5,264 (which includes the benefactors match) was collected to go towards next year’s donations.

Find us on the web at www.longislandabate.org and on Facebook via the Long Island ABATE community and group pages.