North Shore Marines come to aid of vets

North Shore Marines come to aid of vets

North Shore Marines gave back to veterans in a big way with an event in Williston Park last week.

The New Hyde Park-based Marine Corps League Detachment 614’s  fundraiser dinner on Saturday at American Legion Post 144 raised $33,500 for the Semper Fi Fund, a charity benefiting veterans from all branches of the military.

“The help that they give these vets and these families — you just want to do something for them,” said Jim Geraci, a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War who spearheaded the event.

The dinner “exceeded our expectations” and almost doubled the amount Detachment 614 raised at a similar 2014 event, he said.

Some 200 people, including a Semper Fi Fund representative, a Marine Corps honor guard and a wounded combat veteran, attended the dinner featuring a buffet, open bar and entertainment, Geraci said.

Proceeds came from sales of the $45 tickets, about $3,000 in raffle ticket sales and donations from local businesses and community organizations, Geraci said.

The American Legion post donated the drinks and use of its event space, and the spread of Italian food came from Dominick Grosso, owner of New Hyde Park’s Dominick’s Italian American Deli and a Marine himself.

“We all chipped in, all the guys of the Marine Corps League chipped in to do this,” Grosso said. “We’re on this mission.”

Since its inception in 2004, the Semper Fi Fund has given more than $133 million to support wounded, injured and critically ill veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to its website.

The group is highly rated by charity watchdogs and spends 94 percent of its revenue directly on services, important reasons why Detachment 614 supports it, Geraci said.

“You call them and they help you,” Grosso said. “It’s just one of those organizations that’s the real deal. They’re all about the veterans.”

Detachment 614 plans to hold the dinner fundraiser every two years, Grosso said.

Grosso donates about $2,500 to the Semper Fi Fund every three months from a collection jar in his deli on Herricks Road, he said.

“As an organization we’ve been there, we know what it is like when we come back,” Geraci said.

By Noah Manskar

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