This house, rented by a military family, caught on fire after Hurricane Sandy knocked a tree onto it. (Photo by Josh Bollinger/The Star Democrat)

Post donates $3,000 to Sandy victims

Years ago, Legionnaire Sam Reeder was going through a divorce and had put in storage many of his possessions – clothing, military medals he and his father had earned, and family heirlooms. When his storage unit caught on fire, almost all of his possessions were lost.

“But my neighbors came through for me,” Reeder said. “They helped out and really got me back on my feet.”

That’s what Post 296 in Queenstown, Md., tried to do recently after a fire caused by Hurricane Sandy burned down a house being rented by a U.S. Army staff sergeant and his wife and two young daughters. The post immediately came up with a $2,000 donation for the family; Post 296’s Auxiliary unit added another $1,000.

“We just wanted to do whatever we could to get their feet back on the ground,” said Reeder, Post 296’s commander. “They were renting the house, and they didn’t have renter’s insurance. The husband was stationed out of the state at the time, and the wife and kids didn’t get out of the house with much.”

When he read about the fire in the newspaper, Reeder called other post officers and determined they’d donate quickly. “I got a call from the dad after we donated the money,” Reeder said. “He couldn’t get over how quickly the Legion responded.”

Others in the community have stepped forward as well. A church established a fund for the family. A condo has been made available to the family, and furniture also has been donated.

“We’ve also continued to get donations, mostly anonymous, that we keep putting into the fund,” Reeder said. “People around here have done some really cool things to help out this family.”

National Emergency Fund

When natural disasters like tornadoes, floods or wildfires strike, The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund swiftly delivers needed money to veterans in their communities.