On Jan. 13 students and alumni from the American Heroes Club, a Schreiber High School club dedicated to giving back to American veterans, presented the Port Washington VFW: Henderson-Marino Post 1819 Commander John Baptisto Fiore with a check for more than $4,000. As part of the American Heroes Club Field of Flags project, the club placed approximately 130 flags on the terrace outside of the Weber Field parallel to Port Washington Boulevard, for the entire month of September.
Many parents, students and veterans from the VFW Post 1819, as well as Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte and State Senator Anna Kaplan came down to show their support for the students hard work and accomplishments. The more than $4,000 check will go towards various charitable organizations to help veterans.
“Together we were talking about the things that we could to do raise money,” Louis Blakeman Schreiber High School alumni and member of the Heroes Club said. “One of the things we discussed was creating a 9/11 memorial. We talked to family, friends and people that we knew in the town that would be willing to donate to the fund and in return get a flag. For the entire month of September, we were able to display the flags along Port Boulevard to remind everyone in the town what happened that day, meanwhile spreading patriotism throughout the community.”
The American Heroes club was able to plant 130 flags for the project, which was the largest amount thus far. In previous years, the club was able to generate approximately 90 flags for the project. Students in the Heroes club are passionate about raising awareness for veterans and generating a sense of community support around these heroes. The drive for the flags is usually held in May and June and the flags are placed outside the school on the very last day in August.
“Every day, we wake up and we go to school and we speak with our friends and we laugh; we have the opportunity live a full life. That’s something we can’t take that for granted,” club co-creator and president Andrew Athanasian said. “If you were to wake up in many nations in the Middle East, your first thought would be ‘how am I going to be safe today or how are my loved ones, are they alive?’ For us, the amount of privilege that we have from living in this nation, there is nothing that we can do besides be grateful.”
Members of the club hope to spread awareness about the importance of veterans and the sacrifices they make for their country. Co-creator Harry Hoffman, together with Athanasian and his club members, have begun recruiting underclassmen to join in their efforts to raise money and awareness for the veterans. The club, comprised of many graduating seniors hopes their legacy and hard work will continue after they graduate.
As for the VFW, in the coming months, the building will be seeing some notable improvements. Fiore is looking to transform the VFW into a place for the Port community to gather and have parties or to have a place to stay in the event of a storm or emergency.
He recently purchased a generator to keep the building up and running in case of a power outage. The commander is also working to make improvements to the exterior of the building, such as repaving the parking lot, refurbishing the landscaping, as well as renovating the inside of the building. Fiore, who served in Vietnam, is also working hard to make sure the VFW post in Port Washington remains active and has brought in 19 new members throughout the years. His goal is to make the place a central place for the community to gather.
“This isn’t about me, I really want the community to know how that I want to develop this place, where they can come and have parties and enjoy themselves,” Fiore said. “I just want to put as much as I can into it.”