On Thursday July 19th Veterans of Foreign Wars Post-2913 joined together with the other United Veterans of Patchogue organizations, American Legion Patchogue Post 269, Amvets Post 111 – Patchogue L.I. N.Y. to work together with the Congregational Church of Patchogue, Medford Chamber of Commerce, and members of the community to build the Worlds Largest Pyramid of Toilet Paper to support L.I. Against Domestic Violence, United Veterans Beacon House, and Island Harvest.
When Reverend Dwight Lee Wolter first brought up the idea at the Alive After Five meeting 3 months ago Commander of Post 2913 Dave Rogers jumped at the opportunity to get the veterans involved. Having been homeless once himself Rogers understood the importance of the project and got to work to get donations.
What made this project special was that while we got some mostly small donations from organizations and corporations, the largest being from750.00 from Sam’s Club through the Walmart Foundation, most of the collection of toilet paper was very grassroots, with members of the community collecting toilet paper to donate.
As word spread more people wanted to get involved including Morgan an engineer from J R Holzmacher P.E., LLC who came up with the plan to design the pyramid, and was very hands on in building it. Susan Henke Brinkman and her daughters got very involved as well, not only donating and helping move toilet paper from one place to another but helping to build the pyramid.
Being that this is an issue that effects many people of all walks of life it was easy to understand all the different groups that got involved the Turkish Cultural Center, the Islamic Center, Temple Beth El, United Methodist Church, politicians, businesses and non-for-profit organizations.
Some of the biggest impacts came from Eva Rodriguez-Greguski and Legislator Rob Calarco who collected 780 rolls, when Giunta’s Meat Farms allowed the church, Girl Scout Troops 1103/908 and veterans to collect TP outside their store for a total of 2.7k rolls. the Veteran Service Organizations chipping in; between District 1 NY VFW, Suffolk County Council VFW, William Hughes of VFW Post 5350, VFW Post 4927, Centereach, Post 1384, Andy Veiga, VFW Post 2913, American Legion Post 269, MOC PUP TENT 65 we were able to collect enough for 3600 rolls of TP and Medford Chamber of Commerce who through their contacts and members and with the hard work of Linda Tobin Davis and Erinkelly Connell collected 2k rolls.
During the event people showed what makes Patchogue so special, not only did people donate, others who were originally there for Alive After Five stopped to help. Either donating to the cause, helping to place TP or moving boxes closer so those building had access. We even got help from Andrea Dee who helped put TP high in her stilts. At the end of the evening a women came up to me and told me she came all the way from Las Vegas to witness this project.
Besides the passer by’s that helped we had visits from the Mayor of Patchogue Paul Pontieri, Cleveland Johnson III of Congressman Lee Zeldin, Assemblyman Dean Murray, David Kennedy of the Patchogue Chamber.
Though we were not able to beat the World Record, we did accomplish our main goals of raising awareness of the issue and giving some relief to the organizations we support through this project. Because of that L.I. Against Domestic Violence was able to get their 3k rolls for the year, Island Harvest about 1.2k, the church soup kitchen about 500 rolls with United Veterans Beacon House receiving almost 8.3k rolls (they go through about 28k rolls a year between all their facilities). The organizations did not have to wait to receive their donations they were able to take them home that night.
Thank you to all that donated, supported, helped spread the word, helped build and than pack them up again to go to the organizations. Special thank you to all the members of the VFW that came out to support this program; (Past Commander) George Barrett, (PC, PCC) George Egan, (jr Vice CMDR) Jeff Molitor, (guard) Peter Palamidis, (member) Mike Babulak, (Past Commander Post 2937) Walter Maresco, (Sr Vice Commander) Scott McKendrick, (SCCVFW Commander) Bill Hughes.