Adevastating fire left members of Glen Cove’s James E. Donohue Veterans of Foreign War Post 347 without a home in August 2021. Since the fire, VFW members have been meeting at the Glenwood Landing American Legion Post. While they’ve appreciated the generosity, VFW members want to rebuild their home.
In December 2021, Glen Cove resident Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews joined with friend and owner of the View Grill, Jeanine DiMenna, to create the Phoenix Rising Awards, to help offset some of the construction costs. In a few weeks, a committee of nine was formed. Meetings were organized with the leadership of the VFW and plans were made to produce an event that would also honor the city’s veterans.
The committee’s second fundraiser was held on Feb. 4 at The Metropolitan, raising roughly $23,000.
The gala and awards ceremony began with an invocation, the presentation of colors, a welcome on behalf of Mayor Pam Panzenbeck and former post commander, Ben Farnan. Throughout the evening, 11 awards were presented to veterans and veteran supporters. Plaques were presented to Fire Chief Robert Retoske and the Glen Cove Volunteer Fire Department on behalf of both the VFW and the Tribute and Honor Foundation in appreciation of their contributions to help rebuild the VFW. Additionally, the president of the foundation, Stevenson-Mathews, presented a 40-inch framed image of the Post’s insignia to the commander on behalf of the foundation board.
Below the insignia was inscribed, “JAMES E. DONAHUE VFW POST 347, Thanks to the resilience of its members and the support of the community, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, our beloved VFW Hall is restored.”
The evening also recognized members of the VFW for their accomplishments throughout their careers and to their community. The scope of recognition was broad, also recognizing non-veterans for their support of veterans’ causes.