Veterans from Hoboken American Legion Post 107 enjoyed a homecoming this afternoon, as they were finally able to return to their Post Headquarters at 308 Second Street for the first time since Hurricane Sandy.
“We had a lot of damage,” said Post Commander John Carey. “The water was up to six feet high.”
Superstorm Sandy slammed into Hoboken on October 29, 2012. As a result of the flooding, the American Legion Post was more or less a total loss.
“A lot of it we tried to restore,” said USAF veteran Charlie Schultz. “We saved what we could.”
“We appreciate what our veterans have done for us, and we saw they needed a hand,” said Joe Mindak, Hoboken Rotary President. “No one else was doing anything about it, so we held some fundraisers—including a block party—and got some furniture donated, put up some drywall and painted the place.”
General Lumber/True Value, Red Bridge Homes, Robert Jenny Design , Man Up Handyman Services and Hoboken Lock & Supply are among those who contributed time, services and materials to the restoration project.
“I thought we’d never fix this place again,” said Schultz. “It was so bad.”
Post 107 was more than just a gathering place for veterans. Prior to the storm, this particular Post ran a monumental care-package program—shipping tons of donated materials to fighting men and women in the field year-round. Furthermore, the Post offered services to returning vets longing for a sense of community, where shared experience was seen as instrumental to progress.
“We should be gaining new members as we merge with Post 427 in Jersey City,” said Carey. “Ours is the most active post in the area.”
In addition to the restoration, a commemorative ceremony is scheduled for later this year name Post 107 after former Post Commander Thomas Kennedy, who passed away nearly two years ago.
This afternoon’s ceremony saw a number of veterans enter the Post facilities for the very first time, expressing their sincere appreciation for the community effort.
Hoboken vocalist Barbara Simon, of BJ Simon Singing Studio, was on hand to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“My father, LTC Donald E. Simon, was a West Point graduate,” said Simon. “So this is very meaningful to me.”
“I can’t thank the Rotary enough,” said Carey. “Our guys were worried about our budget—yet not a penny did we spend.”
Carey added, “This is our new home.”