Three Village veterans are hoping the community will stop by the pub Country Corner Saturday, March 2, for a fundraiser to benefit their Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
Michael Salemi, vice commander of VFW East Setauket Post 3054, said money raised that day will go toward much needed renovations of the post’s building located on Jones Street. Admission to the fundraiser will include food and one beer, and there will be raffles with prizes donated by local businesses.
Salemi said, in the past, the post has raised money for fellow veterans, especially at local homes, but recently they needed to concentrate on gathering funds for work on their post building. The group raised $2,800 during a Feb. 5 fundraiser at Madiran The Wine Bar.
“This past fundraiser at the wine bar and this one coming up at Country Corner, it kind of helps get ourselves squared away,” he said, adding once they complete renovations they can return to raising money for local veterans.
Quartermaster Jay Veronko said the post is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year with the Jones Street building being approximately 90 years old. Historian Carlton “Hub” Edwards said he remembers attending Setauket High School, which housed first to 12th grade, on Jones Street in the 1940s when the current VFW building was used by the school for gym, carpentry classes and school fundraisers. He said for years it was referred to as the scout house because a Boy Scout troop used it as a meeting place.
Veronko said even though the building has been renovated over the years, the post members are hoping to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and general renovations are needed, especially in the kitchen and women’s bathroom. The post has no income, Veronko said, as they are conservative about renting out the house for parties to the general public due to it being located in a residential area.
The quartermaster said the members were appreciative of Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) who recently coordinated a visit with local trade union representatives to the post. Hahn said it was during a visit to a VFW post in Medford that she learned that sometimes trade unions donate their time to renovate VFW posts, and many local skilled laborers want to volunteer and use their skills to help veterans, which helps defray the cost of labor.
Hahn said she recognizes the appreciation residents feel for veterans, and believes they feel it’s important local posts have what they need to continue serving vets.
“I’m just trying to help however I can as a reflection of what I know is strong support from our community as a whole,” she said. “It’s everyone’s duty to help a little bit these folks who gave so much.”
Veronko said the hope is that one day the post, which hosts the East Setauket Memorial Day Parade and Veterans Day memorial service, as well as a fall chicken barbecue fundraiser, will be able to organize more community events like flea or farmers markets.
“We’ve been part of the community for a long time,” he said. “We try to be a good neighbor, and we’re trying to reach out a little bit more.”
Country Corner is located at 270 Main St., Setauket. The fundraiser begins at 4 p.m. March 2, and admission is $30 per person. For those unable to attend the event and would like to contribute, donations can be sent to the post at 8 Jones St., East Setauket, NY 11733.