New Jersey squadron embraces ‘Season of Giving’
Belleville, N.J., SAL Squadron 105 members Donald Keddell and Steve Sangemino pose while fundraising in November. Photo provided.

New Jersey squadron embraces ‘Season of Giving’

For the members of SAL Squadron 105 in Belleville, N.J., the holiday season truly is a “Season of Giving.”

“Everything we do as a squadron is for the benefit of others,” said Squadron 105 Commander Steve Sangemino. “We’re always going to be there to help someone in need, whether it’s a brother, a veteran, or anybody in the community.”

The squadron and Legion Family in Belleville are managing a toy and clothing drive. Around $4,000 in toys and clothing have been ordered since fundraising began with a “Christmas in July” event, and more donations are coming in.

Squadron 105 Adjutant Rusty Myers noted that anyone in need can drop by the post on Dec. 14, when toys and clothing are distributed, and anything left over will be distributed to the needy in the community afterward.

“As an American Legion family, I’m very proud that the SAL is very active, and now that we have the American Legion Auxiliary there helping also with all that they do for veterans and in support of the Four Pillars,” said Post 105 Commander Joseph Cobianchi.

The squadron is also conducting a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Fisher House Foundation, which builds comfort homes where military and veterans families can stay for free while a loved one is in the hospital. Over the past four years, the squadron has raised over $6,000 through the raffle to donate to Fisher House.

“I’m very proud of our SAL family. When something needs to be done, we just do it,” said Squadron 105 First Vice Commander James Elsmore.

The squadron’s giving spirit began even before the holidays.

At the squadron’s general meeting in November, donations of $250 each were made to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA), The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation (CWF) and Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW). Those donations highlight the SAL’s support of the Legion’s Four Pillars — in this case, children and youth, and veterans affairs.

“This organization is such an amazing force for good, whether it’s for our vets, or kids, or our community, state, and nation. I’m proud that our members bring to action in every way National Commander Hall’s slogan ‘Representing More than Me,’” Myers said.