Veterans with mobility issues who visit Kingsbridge’s VA hospital may soon find it easier to make their way around the grounds thanks to a Bronx golf course.
The Theodore Korony American Legion Post #253 and community partner John Marano completed delivery of donated golf carts to the James J. Peters VA.
They will be used to help veterans make their way around the facility’s parking lot and building.
Universe Towing helped the veterans transport the carts from where they were being temporarily stored, at Hammond Cove Marina in Throggs Neck, to the VA on Friday, March 10 with a donated truck.
Gene DeFrancis, the vice-commander of post, which had been raising money for the project for a number of years, reached out to Marano to see if the community activist could be of assistance.
Marano turned to Trump Links in Throggs Neck, which agreed to donate two six-seat golf carts, a 2012 and 2016 model, worth roughly $18,000, according to sources.
“I am the type of guy who sees myself as a facilitator,” said Marano of his lead role in the effort, adding “I work very hard in the community. I love the people and the selfless veterans who always want to help someone else in need.”
The carts are necessary, said veterans advocate Pat Devine, because of a steep incline at the Peter’s VA parking lot that can make it extremely hazardous for older or disabled veterans to get inside the building.
“Many patients have to park at the far end of the lot and it is very challenging for some,” said Devine.
Devine said that it is his understanding that the carts will be roaming the parking lot every 15 minutes or so to transport patients to the main entrance.
A Peters VA spokesman confirmed that the carts will be stored in a garage awaiting the establishment of a driving group and some more favorable weather conditions.
The current target date for the carts to hit the parking lot is on Monday, May 1, he stated.
Peters VA’s Dr. Erik Langhoff, medical center director, said that the donation would be a great benefit to patients who have walking difficulties.
“We are grateful to the Korony American Legion Post for the generous donation,” said Langhoff.
The post is planning to give an award to Justin Dambinskas, proprietor of Hammond Cove, for his role in temporarily storing the vehicles after they were received from Trump Links, said Devine.
“It was definitely a team effort,” said DeFrancis.
Marano, who multiple sources credited for following through and cutting red tape, said he was pleased to work with Devine, DeFrancis and Peter Del Debbio to fully realize a goal of the post for years.
A spokesman for Trump Organization said that they donate to many charities.
“We donate to many, many groups and it’s just a continuation of our support for veterans who do incredible things for our country,” he said of the carts.