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Upcoming holiday party is just one event for veterans to enjoy

By KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

SPOTSWOOD — For veteran Roy Bredt, members of Spotswood American Legion Post 253 are like family.

“They go out of their way to care for you,” he said. “They are so friendly from the heart.”

Bredt, who served in the U.S. Navy and is a resident of the New Jersey State Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park in Edison, said he is the first to volunteer to go on a variety of trips and activities that the American Legion hosts for the veterans, who live at the home.

The legion post, located on 50 Devoe Ave. in Spotswood, holds an annual picnic in October and a dinner and classic car show at Garvey’s Family Restaurant and Pub in Monroe. In the spring, the legion post has sponsored trips to Somerset Patriots games and an Easter dinner for the veterans.

On Dec. 3, the post will serve as the host to its annual holiday party from 1-4 p.m. for the veterans with entertainment by Good to Go, a New Jersey-based rock band.

There are four units at the post including the legion, the Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Riders.

Patricia Hapson, of American Legion Lenape Post 211 in Sayreville and who serves as Middlesex County’s Ladies Auxiliary president, said Post 253 is more active than others.

“They do a lot of fundraisers and [make] care packages for active troops,” she said.

Michael McHose, director of the Legion Riders, said they participate in the annual Memorial Day Parade in Spotswood and host an annual pig roast and poker run in September.

“I feel we need to take care of our veterans and let them know we support them and we will do whatever to help them,” he said.

McHose said even though there are four units in the post, they work together as one tight-knit family.

Al Galasso, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, said they host an annual bike and poker run and pig roast benefiting the veterans.

Arlene Baum, whose husband William is the commander of the post, said they also work with the local schools creating holiday Christmas cards for active troops and veterans, and they worked with local Boy Scout Troop 35 in collecting food donations for the food bank at the Spotswood Reformed Church.

Paula Frederick, a physical therapist assistant at the Menlo Park veterans home, said the veterans love their time during outings with the American Legion members.

“They love the interaction — and the food,” she said.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@gmnews.com.

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