Volunteers help Unionport Post 1065 with renovations

Sears’ Tom McCurtain (2nd from l.) and post historian Hector Cruz, commander David Perez, adjutant Ricardo Garcia and Francis Burford.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

A local American Legion post received a helping hand with its beautification.

Sears Heroes at Home program and Rebuilding Together brought in a team of volunteers from Sears and K-Mart stores and a high school to paint, landscape and install planters at Unionport Post #1065 in Castle Hill on Tuesday, July 3.

Kimberly George, Rebuilding Together NYC executive director, said the volunteers did the bulk of the work over seven hours.

Ricardo Garcia, post adjutant, said that the volunteers included nine students from Queens Technical High School, who also assisted in removing trash from a bank parking lot next to the post’s property.

“I was very touched that they came out and supported us,” said Garcia, adding “The work they did was really phenomenal and they really went out of their way to help us.”

The post building was originally a schoolhouse dating back to 1861 and was repurposed as an American Legion Hall in 1933, said Garcia.

Garcia said the post is concentrating on getting the building in good enough shape so that it can host ongoing programming for children, as well important events like birthday parties and weddings.

This would help sustain its mission to serve the borough’s veteran community, he explained.

The work to the building at 2151 Newbold Avenue included repainting the interior of the building, replacing flooring in the post’s clubhouse, rebuilding picnic tables, installing raised garden beds and exterior partitioning, said George.

Additionally, a gravel pit was created for the installation of an outdoor grill, said Garcia.

Certificates of appreciation were given to the volunteers from Sears, at least two of which were veterans, along with all the other volunteers, according to Garcia.

Rafael Pereya gave an outdoor railing at the post’s building a fresh coat of paint.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

Heroes at Home, a charity that helps veterans and their organizations with rebuilding projects, is a national partnership between Sears Holdings (parent company of both Sears and K-Mart stores) and Rebuilding Together.

It is designed to assist veterans in need, as well as families and groups, with home repairs and building modifications.

Tom McCurtain, Sears Holdings New York Market general manager, said that the company has been giving back through Heroes at Home for 11 years

The ultimate goal of Heroes at Home is to be of service to veterans as they readjust to life at home and bring up their standards of living, said McCurtain.

The program can be especially helpful to local veterans groups like American Legion posts.

“Oftentimes these organizations focus all of their resources, time and efforts on the service members directly, but they don’t focus on their service infrastructure so much because that is the way they operate,” said McCurtain.

He added the program has helped over 15,000 veterans with over 40,000 employees volunteering for projects.

Some of the volunteers came from the K-Mart in Bruckner Plaza, said McCurtain.

George added that Rebuilding Together NYC has had an ongoing relationship with the post.

“They were very excited about the project,” she said.

Craig Yeager (l) and Thomas Song assembled new wooden tables for the yard.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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