By Kelsey Durham
Dozens of veterans gathered in Howard Beach Saturday for a cookout hosted by state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) thrown in honor of their service to their country.
Addabbo said his annual veteran’s barbecue, which he said he has held every year since being elected to the Senate, is his office’s way of showing its appreciation for veterans and their sacrifices.
This year, about 100 people came to the gathering outside Addabbo’s district office, near 102nd Street and 160th Avenue, to enjoy food, beverage, entertainment and some thanks from the community.
“It’s my small way of saying thank you to all our veterans and what they’ve done,” Addabbo said.
The senator said all the food was donated from 13 different restaurants around the area, including some new ones this year which he said were excited to be able to help out. He said word of mouth spread the news that the event was taking place and his office made sure veterans and their families were invited to come out and enjoy the gathering.
One of the group’s most seasoned veterans was 90-year-old World War II veteran Anthony Mauceri, of Woodhaven, who served in the Coast Guard on two warships and a gun boat off the coast of Japan. He said this year was the first time he had come to Addabbo’s annual cookout, but said he was delighted when he heard it was taking place.
“It’s very nice, what he’s doing for veterans,” Mauceri said. “There’s not enough being done, especially for the ones coming home now from Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Before food and drinks were served, Addabbo opened the event by briefly speaking to the crowd and thanking them for their service. He also asked for a moment of silence to remember the military members currently serving and the ones who lost their lives while protecting their country.
The senator also joined the veterans and the members of the NYPD who came to the event in listening to the national anthem as the event got underway.
Addabbo said the annual cookout is something he and his entire staff enjoys doing because it gives him the opportunity to show his support and appreciation to military members. He said the turnout was higher this year than in years past and he hopes that as long as he continues to do it, more veterans will come out and enjoy the small token of gratitude he and his staff have to offer.
“Elected officials have a unique opportunity to help veterans through support and through legislation,” Addabbo said. “But it’s not just an opportunity, it’s an obligation.”
Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at email@example.com.