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Clerk's office teams up with Erie County veterans & businesses to raise money for countywide veterans' posts

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Fri, Jun 15th 2018 06:35 pm
Erie County veterans mark Flag Day by launching new fundraising campaign to raise money for Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY Inc.
Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns is collaborating with local veterans and businesses on a new initiative to benefit Erie County veterans' posts. In recognition of Flag Day, Kearns and veterans representing the various posts throughout the county and leaders in the business community launched "Pledge for the Posts." This is the initial effort in a fundraising campaign to make improvements to Erie County veterans' posts.
As of Thursday, veterans are stationed at the Erie County auto bureaus, selling American flag cutouts for people to purchase for $1 each. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sales will go toward the Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds to update the veterans' posts throughout Erie County.
The Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY Inc. organization was created to address the need for improvements to the county's veterans' posts. In 2016, Kearns, then serving as assemblyman, collaborated with the American Institute of Architects, which donated its resources to conduct an evaluation of veterans' posts in Erie County. This initiative, known as "Operation Evaluation," helped the posts establish a "top priority" list of improvements for their facilities, including making the posts Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant, structural improvements, and installing technology upgrades such as Wi-Fi.
The "Pledge for the Posts" initiative is also being supported by several local businesses. Caruba Collision, United Health, McGuire Group and WNY Diamond Cutters have volunteered to sell flags.
Currently, there are 20 veterans' posts from Erie County participating in the Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY. The "Pledge for the Posts" flag sale is the official start to the fundraising campaign for the posts restoration. The total cost of renovation to all 20 posts is approximately $8 million. Kearns previously secured $250,000 for American Legion Post No. 721 as assemblyman.
"This effort to help our Erie County veterans restore and improve the veterans' posts across the county is one, meaningful way we as a community can say 'Thank you' for their great sacrifice," Kearns said. "These posts were created as havens for our men and women coming back from war. We now have a new generation of veterans returning home, however, the facilities lack some of the modern-day assets to attract our younger veterans. These posts play a vital role in our community and I am honored to work with these great men and women, and local business leaders, to help our veterans raise the funds to restore the posts."
"I think it is important that veterans have a social outlet where they can go and enjoy a drink, watch a ball game and interact with fellow veterans," said Dennis Chapman, Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY Inc. board member.
"I am committed to do this for all posts. All veteran organization buildings are getting older, members are getting fewer, and it is getting harder to get money to update the posts and repair them. That's why I am representing my post and others to help all of our brothers and sisters to be able to enjoy their buildings," said Gary Oakes Jr. Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY Inc. board member.
"The reason I am doing this is because all of these posts were built in the '50s or '60s by the veterans of the greatest generation. I feel that it is my duty to honor them by keeping the memorial posts they built here to stay. Not only for them but for we that follow them," said Jerry Kowalski, Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY Inc. board member.
Visit www.erie.gov/clerk for schedule and locations of flag sales.

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