New Jersey Post 148 Commander Doug Herrin and Sons of The American Legion Squadron 148 Commander Hector Ortiz drove a 28-foot box truck full of donated items from Hightstown, N.J., to Fort Myers, Fla., in early December to help veterans and community members recovering from Hurricane Ida.
Herrin and Ortiz landed at Post 274 in Fort Myers Beach Dec. 8, where they unloaded the truck filled with baby wipes, toiletries, clothes, boots, non-perishable goods, cleaning supplies, surgical gloves, motorized wheelchairs, two Christmas trees and more. “It was rewarding,” Herrin said. “(Post 274 members) were very appreciative. It was a good feeling because the devastation down there is unreal. So if we can ease their mind a little bit, it was well worth the trip.”
The donated items poured in from Legion posts around the state of New Jersey and others, including a food drive at Amazon in Cranbury, N.J., where Herrin works.
“The outpouring of help and the desire to help other veterans has been tremendous. It’s really encouraging,” Herrin said. “It’s been a collective effort from everyone in our department.”
Herrin said people in the community would hear what Post 148 was doing and drop off items to the post where they received “a handshake and a hug until next time because there’s going to be another hurricane. We are in a position to help people, and that’s pretty much what we’re about and what we do,” said Herrin, who has traveled to Texas, Nebraska and other states following a natural disaster to bring donated goods and support. “We do what we can to help. I love helping others. If we’re able to help others, why not? That’s what I ask myself. If we can help somebody and we’re in a position to help somebody, then why not help them.
“It’s veterans still serving America.”