When it comes to helping the Veterans Administration Hospital in Providence and their veterans, the Giovanni Folcarelli DAV Chapter 1 and its Auxiliary Unit 1 continue to set records.
Take Chapter 1’s tradition of assisting veterans and their families during the holiday season. Chapter 1 donated what Commander John “Jack” Hill described as “the most money our chapter has donated in many years and we are always happy to help our Veterans in need. This was all made possible because we had a good year of fundraising with over 35 members form both units participating.”
As Hill and Folcarelli officials were assessing their holiday giving program, the Commander announced that the DAV group that’s based inside the Kelley-Gazzerro VFW Post 2812 on the Johnston-Cranston line, donated $2,500 in $50 Wal-Mart gift cards, $500 in $25 Stop & Shop gift cards and presented a special $500 check to the Providence VA Medical Center.
Raymond Deniswich, a long-serving DAV official who is Chapter 1’s Adjutant-Treasurer, made the presentation to VA Medical Center Donna Russillo, Chief of Voluntary Services and Debra Veasey of that same department.
Russillo and Veasey were thrilled with the donations, as they related to Denisewich emphasizing: “We had just run out of gift cards and we were wondering how we would further help our veterans who were looking for assistance at this time of year.”
Perhaps even more impressive was that Folcarelli Chapter 1 members also voted to assist numerous veterans and families in distress during the holiday season.
“There are lots of unfortunate stories regarding our veterans,” Denisewich said. “One of those included a former homeless veteran, his wife and three children”
The Folcarelli DAV Chapter 1 really stepped up, as Denisewich, with Hill standing at his side, said of the monetary donation along with four boxes of gift cards and toys put together by the Kelley-Gazzerro VFW Post 2812 Women’s Auxiliary.
Heading that gift giving operation was Lillian Macera, who serves as president of the Kelley-Gazzerro Auxiliary and Jackie Brodeur who assembled give boxes that included more donations from Greg and David Spirito, owners of Spirito’s Restaurant that’s now house at the famed FWW Post.
“That family was overwhelmed by the giving,” said Denisewich. “They were certainly surprised and that’s why we love – and will continue to help – our fellow men and women veterans.”
Moreover, Chapter 1’s monetary and gift card donations to over 20 veterans and their families, and as Denisewich and Hill said,: “We shocked the wife of a deceased Folcarelli DAV member with another donation and our people donated $300 to help pay the oil bill for a 95-year-old World War II veteran.”
Folcarelli members also made a car payment for another homeless vet who was using that vehicle to live in, and Chapter 1 also helped two other veterans who were surviving on Social Security benefits and had no money to buy Christmas food, let along gifts.
Denisewich made a special visit on Christmas morning to the VA Medical Center in Providence and presented a check for $300 to Raymond Blanda and Allen Wagonblatt for use at the VFW section of that hospital.
The morning also included more than two dozen members of the VFW along with Santa’s Christmas visit to hospitalized veterans.