POUGHKEEPSIE – Veterans throughout the Poughkeepsie area received a full Sunday pasta dinner and dessert compliments of MHA Dutchess Vet2Vet. The Vet2Vet program paid for the supplies of the meals that were cooked by a group of volunteers. The diners picked up their meals in drive-through fashion at the VFW Post 170 in Poughkeepsie Sunday afternoon.
State Senator Sue Serino (R, Hyde Park) who attended Sunday has been recognized by veterans as a staunch advocate for funding for veterans programming.
“Every single year our veterans would have to schlep up to Albany to fight for funding because the former governor wouldn’t include the Dwyer Vet2Vet funding in his budget. I am hoping that the new governor includes the funding because we would like to see this program opened in every county in the state.”
The volunteers in the kitchen on Sunday, including Adam Nowik, Bob Monaco, and Victor Zamaloff are pasta dinner “professionals” that have cooked thousands of spaghetti dinners for events hosted by Serino, who was on hand for Sunday’s dinner. The volunteers prepared 720 meatballs, 64 pounds of spaghetti, and 15 gallons of sauce (or gravy, as some call it) in the kitchen while a number of volunteers from Serino’s office assembled the salads, breads, desserts, to deliver to the outside distribution area. Vet2Vet staffers handed out the food and beverages to the veterans as they pulled up. They were also given gift bags filled with brochures on programming and little trinkets.
VFW Post Commander Bernie Herzfeld and Past Commander Tommy Zurhellen joined fellow post member Dave Gunn in greeting the cars as they made their way through the parking lot to pick up prepared meals. Anthony Kavouras, who runs the Dutchess County Vet2Vet said, “This is another great way for us to meet our fellow veterans and provide them information about our various services while also giving them a hot meal. We have a dedicated staff of veterans at Vet2Vet and we enjoy holding outreach events like this to help our fellow veterans.”
Dutchess County’s Director of Veterans Services Adam Roche was on hand to meet with the diners and perform outreach as well. “Dutchess County does a tremendous amount of work on behalf of veterans and I am here to offer the support of my office to those in need,” said the Marine who was the head of the Dutchess Vet2Vet program before Kavouras.
Serino spent the afternoon greeting the more than 300 veterans who came through the line. “This is one of my favorite events,” she said. “It’s a great way to say ‘thank you’ to our veterans,” she added.