Local veterans seek help mailing packages to military in Middle East

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:48

    MONROE -Veterans organizations and other groups are raising money for gift packages for service men and women in the Middle East. On Tuesday, July 20, the Orange County government was asked to help. Sid Tendler, the Post Commander of Jewish War Veterans of Monroe, Irving Zuckerman Post No. 758, described his post's efforts to show appreciation for the service people through "gift packs" at Orange County Legislature's Human Services Committee meeting Tuesday, July 20. The cardboard cartons contain a variety of items that service people have most requested, he said, and he has received letters to let him know they are appreciated. He's also had help. Libraries donate books, one of the things service people need to while away time in a foreign land. Battery operated electric shavers are in demand, and Tendler said, his organization gets a price break on them. Still, at $5 each, they're an expensive item when you consider that the post has sent out more than 3,000 gift packs worth a total of $150,000. The packs are delivered to a depot in New Jersey and sent through a carrier in Dover, Del., Tendler said. Tendler showed the legislators a letter from a platoon, which thanked the Jewish War Veterans for their package and for the time they put in to put it together and send it. "That simple act, the time you take to support us, means a lot," the platoon stated. A picture of the platoon was enclosed. Tendler said that when he lived in Rockland County, a veterans group he belonged to had requested and received $2,000. Committee members expressed some concern that if they gave the Jewish veterans' group money, there might well be many other groups doing similar work who would also want funding. Committee Chairman Michael Amo said the Legislature would consider Tendler's request and try to determine ways the county could help all such groups. "It would be premature to talk about any specific funding," he said. Help could take the form of coordinating the various groups. It could possibly come to a grant that groups would be able to apply for or simply to publicize the work that various groups are doing and the need for donations. "We could possibly become a conduit for private donations to these groups, or help publicize the need." Amo asked Tony Zippo, the director of Orange County Veterans' Services to put together a list of groups working to show support for service members as a first step. "Sid did a great job," Amo said. "I think the committee was nervous about setting a precedent, but he brought this to the attention of the county. It's a worthwhile cause and we can help." Amo said the timing of the request was excellent, as the county is just beginning to put its budget together, and Tendler's request would certainly be discussed further.