LILAC Honors Local Veterans

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LILAC members, Congressman Tom Suozzi, and local and veteran leaders honored war heroes
at Monument Park in Glen Cove on Memorial Day. (Photo courtesy of Sabrina Guo)

BY SABRINA GUO

Since LILAC’s inception in March as a student-run charitable organization at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have done our utmost to live up to our mission of serving our communities amidst the pandemic. We have tried to help assuage the urgent need of PPE and provide emotional support.

We have donated thousands of PPE, along with our COVID-19 inspired ThankYou & WeCare creative works, to hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, fire departments, government offices and many more.

Additionally, we’ve had the great fortune of partnering with many organizations and leaders and, because of our donors’ and followers’ support, we’ve had an immense impact on the community and significantly grown our membership, all while dealing with school and other normal responsibilities students have

Our journey has led us to collaborate with many compassionate public servants, one of
which is U.S. Congressman Tom Suozzi, who has been a source of continual encouragement.

We first met Representative Suozzi at the Glen Cove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation
where we partnered for a donation of PPE and artwork and were extremely encouraged by
Representative Suozzi’s warm and uplifting demeanor.

He was so moved with our organization’s efforts that he offered his support in whatever capacity he could, which led to several other donations.

Throughout this time, Representative Suozzi has been a model leader and an inspiring example of what compassionate, proactive and responsible governing looks like.

Recently, with Memorial Day having just passed, our organization led us to reflect on the needs of the elderly Veteran community, who supported us and have gone through so much.

LILAC unanimously agreed that the least we could do was provide them with essential protection when they need it most.

To express our gratitude during a time reserved for honoring their great contributions, we began Memorial Day with a press conference at Monument Park in Glen Cove, where Representative Suozzi opened the ceremony with an impassioned and moving speech.

Those present included Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke and Councilwoman Marsha
Silverman, along with several veteran leaders and LILAC members.

The atmosphere was reverent yet inspiring and, during the ceremony, we announced our commitment to donating over 6,000+ PPE to the veterans who have protected us and provided for our security generation after generation.

After the Memorial Day service, we continued to our second event which was a donation of
PPE and artwork at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 347 at Glen Cove.

There, we contributed a total of 2,000 masks and 300 hand sanitizers, along with inspiring paintings, and were met by representatives from four different Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legions Posts in our region who cheerfully received the much-needed supplies.

As we closed the day, we took a moment to spend time together and felt a sense of genuine camaraderie as we shared some laughs and thanked them for their service.

After all, students like us enjoy the freedoms of this country partly because of their great sacrifices.

The following day, we met at The Regency of Glen Cove, an assisted living facility, where, once again, Suozzi joined us for a donation of 1,060 KN95 masks, 45 coveralls and gowns and some wonderful artwork.

To our great honor, he then presented us with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition on behalf of the Third Congressional District of New York for all of our work in keeping our frontline workers safe.

We were humbled by this award that, in actuality, represents the collective effort of LILAC’s donors, partners, members and supporters. It’s truly a testament to what we can accomplish when we stand together and work as a community. ⁠

Energized by all of the love and support, later that week we arrived at the American
Legion Post 962 to donate 1,500 masks, 200 hand sanitizers and some beautiful artwork to
encourage our troops.

This donation added up to a total of 4,000 PPE and was another step to fulfilling our promise of donating PPE to veterans, the elderly and their families.

This was received with open arms by six commanders and post leaders, including Ben Farnan, Tony Jimenez, Vincent Martinez, Dave Whitting, Carl Buhr and Joe Moores, who were joined by Glen Cove Councilman Gaitley Stevenson.

Vietnam War veteran Joseph Moores even wrote us a heartfelt letter reflecting on the personal significance of this event and about how encouraged he was seeing our generation serve others. ⁠⠀⁠⠀

All of these experiences in supporting our community, hearing all the loving feedback,
reading the letters of encouragement, and mobilizing alongside other leaders has been an
incredible gift in and of itself.

We at LILAC feel that in this dark time, we are enormously lucky to be a small part of a tremendous transformative light.

And, this is only the beginning, as we are continuing to make trips to facilities in our community.

We recently donated to the Bay Terrace Association of Co-ops, a senior retirement home with many aides, along with Commonpoint Queens, an organization dedicated to sustaining and enhancing our community’s quality of life, including the elderly and veterans.

This donation helped us get closer to our goal of 6,000 PPE and was even covered by NY1.

We at LILAC will continue to ensure that the needs of at-risk and underserved communities are met, whether they are veterans, senior citizens, home care workers or
community organizers.

We are so immensely proud and sincerely grateful for the people who have come together to make a charitable organization like ours be a vessel for positive change during this tough time.

As a student-led organization that also requires us to focus on our academic studies, LILAC believes that if there is something to be learned, it is that engaging with, serving and supporting our community is one of life’s greatest and most fulfilling lessons.

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