While the VFW Post in Levittown has been shutdown since March 16, the Levittown veterans have still been active in providing assistance to veterans in a variety of ways.
Commander Peter Stasinski spoke with the Levittown Tribune about how they are still maintaining a role in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: How important is it for Levittown VFW to stay engaged in the community as it has been so far?
A: It is very important. VFW Levittown-Island Trees Post 9592 has been engaged in the community since April of 1948 when it received its charter and continues to do so even during unique uncertain times like now.
Q: How are you providing help for veterans during this time still when people can’t physically be there?
We are doing so mostly through various forms of communications through phones, social media, our webpage, email and regular mail. Although there may be times where we could provide assistance other than through electronic means, that would be done on a case by case basis.
Q: What are the programs that are still available amidst COVID-19?
A: The VFW has many programs that are still available during the COVID-19 shutdown to serve our veterans, active-duty military, reserve and national guard.
Post-service officers and state department service officers are available to help veterans navigate the VA system. They are also available to provide information on military and veterans benefits.
The VFW provides calling cards or virtual pin numbers that provide 100 minutes of free talk time to service members deployed or in hospitals. This program is also available to veterans in VA hospitals or veterans’ homes.
The Unmet Needs program provides financial assistance, due to a financial hardship directly related to military service, to service members, veterans and their families. The financial assistance is in the form of a one-time grant that is paid to the creditor company after being reviewed and approved by a committee.
The Military Assistance Program is designed to encourage a link between the VFW and the military community. VFW Post 9592 sends out care packages to troops stationed overseas in a combat area.
Recognition Programs are ongoing. Here we recognize members of the community who have performed above and beyond their peers and who placed the safety and welfare of others above and beyond their own.
Recently, we recognized the medical staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bethpage and law enforcement officers in Nassau County’s eighth precinct by having food delivered to each location in a show of support and appreciation for all that they are doing during this time.
In addition to that, we are continuing our Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest, which has a theme of “What does patriotism mean to me?” this year. Also, we will have our Voices of Democracy Audio/Essay Contest with a theme of “Is this the country the founders envisioned?” this year.
Both offer scholarship prizes and have a due date for submissions of Oct. 31. Visit www.vfw9592.com for more information.
Q: What type of assistance are you able to provide for these Veterans?
A: We can do things like disseminating information regarding benefits and legislative priorities, doing administrative assistance with VA paperwork, being available to just talk and, in some cases, making food runs for them.
Q: What are some aspects of Levittown VFW that would be enhanced by being able to work in the building right now?
A: Comradeship between the members is a big one. Although most of us are blessed with great communication technology it is no substitute for personal interaction. The Post building is a place where veterans come to be around and interact with people whose shared military experiences create an environment of familiarity and safety.