There was a unique display of caring — a terrific trait that Johnstonians have been famous for through years whenever there’s a special need — on a recent Thursday morning at Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) headquarters at 1010 Hartford Ave.
A large delegation of Johnston police, fire and town employees headed by Mayor Joseph Polisena came to OSDRI armed with what someone called “tons of non-perishable foods” that that were donated to help replenish the veterans group’s food cupboard.
Perhaps JPD Chief Joseph P. Razza, who even accepted a heart-warming donation for the event from Johnston Job Lot Store Manager Elia Balona and staffer Christine Stack, best described the unmatched show of community caring.
“My hat goes off to Mayor Polisena for putting this together,” Razza, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Mark Vieira began. “Also, what a great show from representatives from the police, fire and town employees for their great generosity and thoughtfulness to this truly worthwhile cause.”
The Chief then emphasized: “It’s always special to help our community partners, but there is no organization that is as deserving as our veterans at Operation Stand Down. Eric and Tony are so influential in the community and their work and dedication to our veterans is so inspiring.”
Erik is Erik B. Wallin, former US Air Force Captain and the executive director at OSDRI, while Tony is Anthony DeQuattro, who actually founded the award-winning and highly-acclaimed organization that helps veterans with countless special services.
“On behalf of the hundreds of veterans and veteran families who use our food pantry each month, OSDRI wishes to thank members of the Johnston Police IPBO Local 307, Johnston Firefighters, IAFF Local 1950 and the Rhode Island Council 94, Local 1491,” said Wallin with sincere appreciation ringing in his voice. “These hometown heroes generously restocked our veteran’s food pantry with thousands of pounds of food following our annual Veterans Assistance Weekend.”
Thus, as Wallin added: “Time and again, the Mayor, his leadership team and the fine men and women who serve Johnston always come through in a big way to support veterans. Operation Stand Down is proud to call Johnston H-O-M-E!”
There were many memorable moments during last week’s food delivery, one such as a JFD Rescue pulling into the OSDRI parking lot and when several firefighters opened the back door, Polisena and other people were amazed with the overflow collection of food.
Razza, meanwhile, offered: “We all have a great feeling that we have been able to assist those who have allowed us to enjoy the freedoms that we have in this country.”
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