COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Leroy Barnes is the post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5298 located in Springfield Gardens, New York. Barnes devotes his time and effort in aiding and educating veterans of the local community in any way possible. “I’m happy doing what I’m doing, helping people every day.”
PERSONAL: Aged 67, Barnes grew up in Trinidad and he left Trinidad as a young adult to further his education at the College of Aeronautics to pursue a degree in Aeronautical Engineering before he was drafted into the Vietnam War. Barnes currently resides in Elmont, NY and has two children Catherine Barnes, 42 and Brandon Barnes, 26.
OCCUPATION: Barnes is retired from the New Penn Motor Express Company Interstate Trucking of which he was a supervisor operations manager for 23 years. There Barnes was in charge of daily operations, loading and unloading drivers, keeping costs down and making sure everything ran smoothly.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Barnes cites his biggest challenge as “getting the young veterans to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and also the American Legion.” Barnes longs to educate the young veterans on about benefits that they could be entitled to since when many of them return they are out of work, wounded, or do not have health insurance and are not fully knowledgeable of all of the benefits they are eligible to receive. “The government is here to help them, many of them do not know what they can get or what Uncle Sam has to offer them; what they have earned medical, hospital, educational benefits.”
FAVORITE MEMORY: The veteran states in a reminiscent tone that his favorite memory would have to be growing up as a young boy in Trinidad. “I had a lot of nice memories there.” Barnes adds that he holds dear “The close relationship I had with my family at that time.”
INSPIRATION: Barnes states after a pensive pause that is inspiration is “To have peace and quiet in the world.” Barnes adds “We all need it. Everyday listen to the news, someone’s murdered, there’s some war. People need to be loving and helping each other. It would be nice to listen to the news for it to be nice and quiet.” –Bianca François