Spreading some holiday joy


“We’re always concerned about troops in the field,” said Mike Guerriero, second vice commander and coordinator of American Legion Cathedral Post 1087, in West Hempstead. “Whether it’s bad weather, like sandstorms, or if they’re under fire. We try to support them when we can.”

On the evening of Dec. 19, members of Cathedral Post 1087, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary 1087 and Girl Scout Troop 1098, all of West Hempstead, and Boy Scout Troop 93, of Franklin Square, gathered at the Cathedral Post headquarters, on Woodlawn Road, to sort and prepare care packages to be sent to troops in Afghanistan. Roughly 15 people pitched in to package nine boxes of items including food, toiletries and clothing. Guerriero explained that they were to be sent to a Chinook helicopter unit.

“We’ve been doing this for three years,” Guerriero said, listing some of the contents: shampoo, soap, socks, candy, popcorn. “Anything we could fit in the boxes, we did. And they appreciate it. This is really a joint effort, and everyone’s willing to help.”

Guerriero said that Girl Scouts from Troop 1098 baked peanut butter, chocolate chip and sugar cookies, and wrote Christmas cards for the soldiers. “They made quite a bit of them — they worked until they ran out of dough,” he said. “They’re happy because they feel like they’re contributing to the morale of our troops. And sending cards, it’s just the nicest thing. We were glad to have them.”

Virginia Scolpino, the Girl Scout troop leader for six years, said that five Girl Scouts participated, and that there was a great sense of camaraderie and excitement in what she described as a “rewarding” experience.

“They got out into the community, worked together and helped out,” Scolpino said. “I bought Christmas cards. They wrote messages and decorated envelopes. And they really enjoyed it. It’s a great learning experience, and they want to do it again. They want to do the same thing again for Valentine’s Day.”

Guerriero said that the American Legion would continue to support the many troops stationed overseas, and stressed the importance of continuing to show appreciation for their service to the country. “We continue to get donations from people for this, and if we’re ever running low on supplies, people bring in items,” he said. “No one ever hesitates. As long as there are troops overseas, we’ll be sending boxes.”