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Veterans from Long Island are without their VFW home this Veteran’s Day; food pantry also destroyed

GLEN COVE, Long Island (WABC) — Those with a VFW Post in Glen Cove are hoping the community will come together to help them rebuild their century-old building that was destroyed in a fire in August.

“We really don’t want to lose that building,” said Ben Farnan, former Commander of the VFW Post 347.

Farnan, a Korean War veteran, said the building on Hill Street was built by a group of veterans when they returned from World War I.

“All of them were mostly tradesman,” Farnan said. “They volunteered their time to construct the building.”

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Farnan said the VFW has 91 members and they’ve been gathering at a local American Legion while they wait to figure out if they can raise enough money to restore their building.

“We know that we’re going to need a reasonable amount,” he said.

Farnan said they don’t have an exact figure on how much money is needed, but he said their insurance will not cover a complete replacement.

Eva Casale, of Glen Cove, with Team Every Veteran Appreciated, has donated $2,500 to the VFW.

“It’s so important for our veterans to have a place to go and gather,” she said.

Casale raised the money last June when she ran seven marathons in seven straight days while visiting more than 100 of Long Island’s war memorials and soldier grave sites.

It was the fifth year Casale had run the 183.4-mile course to raise money for local veterans’ organizations.

This month, she will donate the rest of the money she raised – more than $15,000 – to six Long Island veterans’ groups in honor of Veteran’s Day.

“I’m just humbled to be able to have this gift where I can run and use it for the right reason,” Casale said.

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The VFW fire happened August 24 around 6 a.m. It’s believed to have been an electrical fire that started on the first floor in the North Shore Soup Kitchen food pantry.

The food pantry’s chairwoman, Christine Rice, said they moved into the VFW building last April.

The fire destroyed 23 refrigerators and freezers, as well as thousands of pounds of food destined for hundreds of needy families in Glen Cove.

“That fire was a real shock and a setback,” Rice said. “But we quickly regrouped and knew that our mission had to continue.”

The pantry has been operating temporarily out of St. Hyacinth Church in Glen Head.

Rice said she isn’t sure if they will return to the VFW building, but they do need to raise money to purchase new refrigeration equipment.

On Thursday, people donated food for the pantry at Emerge Nursing & Rehabilitation in Glen Cove. Those with Emerge hosted the event as a convenient way for people to donate food.

If you would like to donate to the VFW, you can mail checks made payable to VFW Post 347 and mail them to VFW Post 347, 15 Hill Street, Glen Cove, NY 11542.

For more information, you can also message them on Facebook.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help North Shore Soup Kitchen purchase refrigeration equipment.

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