Story by Kristina Hoti
Members of the Warwick Valley VFW Post 4662 and the Warwick Valley VFW Auxiliary (formerly known as the Ladies’ Auxiliary,) along with Mayor Michael Newhard, Town Justice Peter Barlet, Village Justice Jeanine Wadeson, County Legislator Barry Cheney, and many other members of the community gathered on Thurs., Mar. 1 at the Bradner Building, located 10 Colonial Ave. in Warwick NY, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the VFW’s new home.
Food and beverages were available to all who attended the ceremony, and the members of the VFW circulated to share information with those in attendance. Speaking on behalf of Post 4662, VFW Commander Dan Burger spoke to the crowd.
“We have people here on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, who are eager to help. We are here not only for veterans, but for their families as well,” said Burger.
VFW member and WVHS teacher Ed Avila was present, along with a team of his C-Tech students who are participating in the two-year Criminal Justice C-Tech program being offered at Warwick H.S. The uniformed students were onsite providing hospitality and safety services, politely directing arrivals to available parking, and managing traffic control. The program includes a criminal justice course, as well as introduction to forensics.
“The first year is a lot of academics,” said Avila. “Our presence here today is all about community outreach.”
The VFW’s prior location was in the Warwick Fire Department’s Goodwill Hook & Ladder Co., located at 25 Church St. The larger room in the Church St. location is still being used by the VFW for occasional meetings. However, the new location on the ground level of the Bradner Building offers the VFW Post 4662 a dedicated location of their own, where they currently host a Veterans Information Center (VIC,) computer training classes, and art classes. Even more services begin this week, and are in progress to be added soon.
The space contains offices and a small conference room. Office furniture was donated by long-time Warwick resident James Mezzetti, of Myles Wealth Management, located in Florida. A display case in the welcoming entry foyer displays the U.S. Flag, along with the military head gear associated with each branch of the military. The seals for each military branch also sit atop the glass case. A sign above proclaims, “Home of the Free, Because of the Brave.”
The primary goal of the VFW is to provide information-sharing services to local veterans and their families, about the myriad of benefits available to them.
Burger says, “Bradner was specifically designed to be a place for veterans to go.”
While Veterans in urgent crisis should always dial 911, the VFW location can put veterans in touch with medical professionals and counselors. Counseling professionals will also be available at the Veteran Center by appointment.
Thanks to a partnership with the Albert Wisner Public Library, which has offered to share use of programs with the VFW, a computer lab opens this week. Local artist Kelly Ferretti, whose husband is a combat Veteran, teaches art classes which are available to Veterans and their families. The purpose of the classes, Ferretti says, is to give Veterans an often much-needed opportunity for expression.
“It’s hard sometimes to say what you are feeling. It’s not a therapy, but it’s a creative outlet,” said Ferretti.
The services of a therapy dog, as well as both resume and generic writing assistance, at scheduled times, are soon to be added to the offerings at the Bradner Building location. Through the generosity of Aura Lehrer, of Vastu, and Nicole Olsen, of Positive Life Acupuncture, Veterans, their families, and active duty military may also participate in yoga and acupuncture offered on Tuesdays at 10:45 a.m. in the Vastu studio at 17 Main St. in Warwick.
The VFW is staffed on Tues. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Thurs. from 12 noon to 7 p.m., and on Sat. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They can be reached by calling 988-VETS, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view additional photos visit www.wvdispatch.com.