For the fourth year in a row, Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Squadron 105 in Belleville, N.J., ran a fundraiser resulting in the donation of $2,500 to the Fisher House Foundation, a series of comfort homes at VA hospitals for veterans and their families. $1,250 of that donation was then matched by corporate donor Signia. This year’s program was more impactful to the Sons then previous years as they actually had an opportunity to visit a Fisher House in New York City.
Sons from Belleville took a trip in early February to make a portion of the donation in person to the Fisher House located at the John J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, while also getting a tour of the facility. “I was blown away by today, I really was,” was the response from Squadron Commander Steve Sangemino after the visit.
The donation from SAL 105 was raised in a 50/50 raffle held in November and December 2022, as Squadron 105 has done every year since 2019. This year, the SAL originally printed 400 tickets, which were sold in three days. Another 200 were printed by Thanksgiving, being sold out as well, which netted a donation of $1,500. At a meeting in January, the squadron then voted to add $1,000 on top of what was raised through the 50/50, making the total donation $2,500.
SAL 105 Adjutant Rusty Myers noted, “This is what the money is here for – for it to be put to work for our veterans.” New member Ron Planer, who joined in December, echoed that sentiment – “I’m proud we can contribute in any way we can.” He earlier commented when at the Fisher House that “…this is exactly why I joined this [the SAL]. This is wonderful … this is what it’s all about.”
The SAL has never actually been to a Fisher House, though they have done a number of donations over the years exceeding $7,000.
A portion of the donation was made in person to Belleville’s nearest Fisher House, which is located in the Bronx. House Manager Ellen Trbovich was kind and generous enough to arrange a tour and coffee afterward. She noted that “If it wasn’t for the VSOs [Veterans Service Organizations] ... your donations are greatly appreciated and will go a long way to help the families here. This all helps the veterans in the hospital, so they don’t have to worry about their family.”