Legion Family sips and paints to fundraise for Be the One

Legion Family sips and paints to fundraise for Be the One

American Legion Post 876 in Sherburne, N.Y., is passionate about the Legion’s Be the One suicide prevention initiative and wanted to support it through a fundraiser. Unit 876 President Donna Purdy had the idea to host a sip and paint event with the community where proceeds would benefit Be the One.

For two hours on Feb. 23, more than 45 community members painted cardinals on a canvas while sipping their favorite drink, enjoying each other’s company and raising over $1,000 for Be the One.

Putting his artistic skills to the test was Department of New York Commander Dave Riley, who attended the event with his wife Laurie.

“We had a great time; it was the first time each of us had ever done anything like that,” said Riley, who shared that the host of the sip and paint said it was the largest one she has ever coordinated. “Post Commander Will Griffin invited me to attend. I thought it was a great idea, and I wanted to show them that the leadership of New York is backing these initiatives.

“The post has pledged more support (for Be the One) with other upcoming events. It’s a great thing they’re doing there.”

There also was a 50/50 raffle and the winner donated it back to the Be the One fundraiser.

At the end of the event, Riley spoke with the attendees about The American Legion’s Be the One initiative to end veteran suicide by destigmatizing the need for veterans to ask for help.

“Afterward several people came up to congratulate me on the support of this project, and one person pulled me to the side to discuss the loss of a dear veteran friend by suicide and what a great program we are doing. Wishing it had been available sooner.”

Riley said a project he’s working on is getting each post within the Department of New York a list of veteran services in the area to help veterans in need. “I have the service officers working on this for their areas. It’s to get the resources into the post because they are the ones that can help the veteran in trouble. Because they are going to see them first. Then once the families realize that we have this, then they know where to turn to get help.”

Donations to the Legion’s Be the One initiative can be made online here