Friday, 11 January 2013 00:00
The Locust Valley Fire Department’s 5th Annual Operation Wounded Warrior Pasta Dinner proved to be a success. In the midst of the season of giving, the co-chairs of the event, Paul Long, Paul Marecki and Brian Plumb, announced the final figure.
“As unbelievable as it may be,” said Paul Long, “we have once again surpassed our previous year’s total, as this year’s total after expenses was $72,520.”
Long, on behalf of the co-chairs, continued, “Words cannot express our gratitude and indeed our awe at the generosity shown by our neighbors and friends from both Locust Valley and neighboring communities from Glen Cove to Bayville to Oyster Bay and to those that came from even further away to attend our 5th Annual Operation Wounded Warrior Pasta Dinner.”
Earlier this month approximately 50 firefighters from various Nassau County fire departments, including Locust Valley, made their annual trip to Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center hospital with U-Haul trucks full of gifts for injured troops.
Along with the gifts, the firefighters also bought and delivered some items such as recumbent bikes and treadmills to fulfill some special requests that they had received. The recumbent bikes enable those with serious injuries to once again ride with their spouses and their children, as they can no longer ride using regular bicycles. The donated treadmills also help others to continue their physical therapy.
The firefighters also brought large screen TVs for some of the barracks on the bases and laptop computers to help those with more recent injuries stay in touch with their families and friends while they are in the various hospitals.
Long explained, “This year we met and handed out gifts to approximately 500 injured troops recovering at Fort Bragg Army Base, approximately 200 recovering injured marines at Camp Lejeune. While thankfully there were less than the usual number of injured troops at Walter Reed, the experience of visiting these very recently injured troops does not get any easier.
“Some of the firefighters who went on that trip spoke of meeting ‘Mike,’ a young soldier who had been hit by an IED. Mike suffered the loss of both arms and both legs, yet still he was strong enough to meet with us and talk of sports and share a laugh or two. We gave him our simple gifts of an iPad, blankets, an OWW fleece with our logo and some Christmas cards written by local schoolchildren. Mike then did as all of these young men and women do, thanking us for what we do as firefighters and for raising awareness and money in our communities for him and his brothers and sisters in the military. The word “humbling” does not say enough as for our experiences upon meeting these young heroes! May God Bless them always!”
Long continued, “Again, as I have said before, words cannot portray the gratitude we were shown by our young men and women, so many of whom have suffered life changing injuries, upon our arrival with gifts for them. They all become very emotional once they learn that these gifts are the direct result of the generosity of the people of Long Island. They embrace us and hug us, thanking us for remembering them. Again, on behalf of Operation Wounded Warrior and the members of the Locust Valley Fire Department, we thank you all most sincerely.”