Photos by Dominick Totino Photography

Memorial Day weekend proved to be gloriously sunny in our area, allowing our communities to celebrate, honor and recognize the generations of soldiers who paid the ultimate price in defense of our country.

My grandson Jonah, a Boy Scout, marched with his troop in a local parade, and many of our neighbors stopped their day to say thank you.

But after the Memorial Day spotlight has faded and the parades have ended, what are we really doing to support our troops and veterans?

An old friend, Jerry Schmetterer, a former member of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, began a book-writing career following his retirement and wrote with friends Michael Vecchione and Bruce Sackman called “Behind the Curtain.” It’s about veterans hospital patients on the road to recovery who suddenly die in increasing numbers.

Sackman, one of the authors, was a VA special agent in charge of investigating the deaths. He shockingly discovered that veterans’ lives were not safe in the veterans hospital. The book, based on real-life investigations, revealed that VA facilities are poorly funded, often understaffed and manned with inexperienced doctors and nurses.  

This must stop! Programs for veterans must be richly funded and available to protect those men and women who fought to keep us free.

It’s great to observe holidays and throw parades honoring our soldiers’ sacrifices, but we must keep in mind the state of our local VA hospitals and ensure that they are properly run. Volunteer to work at these hospitals, or call your congressman or woman and make sure that they are funding and supporting the often desperate need to help veterans get the best mental and physical health care they deserve.

Photo by Dominick Totino Photography

Books worth reading

Jerry Schmetterer and his coauthors used their detective and prosecuting days to write riveting books that make great summer reading: “Crooked Brooklyn,” “E-Man: Life in the NYPD Emergency Service” and “Behind the Curtain.”

Another friend is a renaissance man, Dr. Harvey Manes, a board-certified orthopedist who, beyond his great medical credentials, is also an inventor, art collector and philanthropist.

We met a few years ago at the Nassau County Museum of Art, where he serves on the board of directors, and has been honored for his commitment to the respected cultural institution.

Celebrating the one-year anniversary of The Manes Center at the Open House, Laura Lynch, Director of Education, Dr. Harvey Manes, Board Member and Reem Hussein, Manager of The Manes Center (Photo courtesy of Nassau County Museum of Art)

Having written professional articles and books, I found his “Dr. Manes E-Z Pain Relief Guide for Baby Boomers” an informative read, and I learned from it.

Dr. Manes, whose passion for art is decades old, recently helped create the Manes Family Art And Education Center on the grounds of the Nassau County Museum of Art.  

At the opening he launched his latest book, “Collecting Art for Pleasure and Profit,” an inside look into collecting art for you and me. I can tell you it’s affordable for you and me.

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