Self Protection, Relaxation, Restored Self-Confidence
Kiwanis Flying Flags for Veterans
Volunteer group to honor Len Torora, send children of soldiers to summer camp
By Mike Koehler. Appeared in The Long-Islander, Oct. 14, 2010
Barry Turk only met a few times, and only in business settings, but the Kiwanis Club of Huntington president knew immediately who he wnat to honor at a November ceremony for veterans.
The Kiwanis Club is staking up to 1,000 American flags in thelawn at Huntington Town Hall to create a Field of Honor not just for Veterans Day on Nov. 7, but for the entire month. A special service wil be held on the actual holida, featuring a canteen named after Totora, a Vietnam veteran and photgraphy expert who died in February of pancreatic cancer.
"Everyone who's involved knew he was the fellow who drove his Jeep around during every parade. They speak of him in reverence. i thought he would be the perfect guy," Turk said.
Totora's son, Len III, said the family was flattreed by the gesture and would attend the Nov 7th ceremony. Totora, he said, not only raised money and awareness for all veterans, but would freely give of himself to them while at his Huntington camera store.
"They used to be coming here all the time. He used to make sure they had food or money for food," Len III said. "We do what we can at the store. We still have a collection for the vets."
Come Veterans Day, high school Kiwanis members will provide hot chocolate, coffee and donutss from the Len Totora Canteen. All of the refreshments have been donated.
Turk and other Kiwaniss Club members are hoping for a large turnout at the event, largely stemming from their sale of flags. In exchange for $35, community members can have a flag planted in honor of a specific veteran. The Kiwanis Club will plant the flag and provide a map to their flag.
That map may be essential, as Turk said their goal is to place 1,000 flags in precision rows in fronnt of Town hall. One of those flags actually hails from Washington D.C., having been flown over the Capitol. Rep. STeve Israel (D-Dix Hills) presented Turk with the flag while the traceling Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall was in Huntington.
The public is already responding, purchasing 300 flags at the Long Island Fall Festival las weekend alone. In addition to reading orders, Turk saidd he's received mail thanking the Kiwanis Club for organizing the event.
"It's a moving experience because of the letters I've received", he said.
The president aded that he has a goal, which includes additional donatoins beyond flag sales, but hesitated to name the specific amount.
All of the money raised will be used to send children of deployed veterans to Kiwanis Camp - a week-long summerr camp upstate. The group regularly sends children from needy families to camp.
"They come back with smiles on their faces," Turk said. "To me, even if we don't make [our financial goal], we will still be successful."
Anyone looking to donate is asked to write to Kiwanis Club of Huntington, care of Barry Turk, P.O. Box 854, Commack, NY, 11725.
Dear Community Member,
The Kiwanis Club os Huntington, Supervison Frank Petrone and the Town Council members are sponsoring a "Field of hOnor" for the month of November 2010. The field will consist of 1,000 American flags placed in precision rows on the front lawn of our Huntington Town Hall. This field of honor will recognize and show honor to past and present veterans who have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedoms.
We are asking community members to purchase flags in the name of an honoree or organization to show respect and admiration for those being honored. We ask for your participation in this program, and we invite you to attend a special veteran's celebration on November 7, 2010 at Town Hall. Supervisor Frank Petrone will be moderating, as well as members of local veterans' groups. In addition, representatives of veterans' organizations are scheduled to come from Washington, D.C. to partake in the commemoration.
Several local businesses wil be sponsoring a "Canteen" which will provide coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts for all attendees.
Barry Turk, President of Kiwanis Club of Huntington