In observance of Memorial Day, the Peconic Auxiliary honored veterans by donating $3,500 to Boots on the Ground, a non-profit organization that provides veterans and their families with food and furniture, and also ships monthly care packages to the military units that don’t have access to supplies.
On Thursday, May 24, a crowd gathered at the outdoor ceremony on the grounds of Peconic Bay Medical Center. The Memorial Day fundraiser was spearheaded three years ago by hospital volunteers working together as the Peconic Auxiliary.
Each year, a different charity is selected to receive the donation. PBMC Auxiliary supports this organization through the sale of military items sold throughout the spring. Kathy Doherty from Boots on the Ground was there to accept the donation.
“I saw very early on that the scars of war come home,” said Doherty, who is from a family of veterans. “Recognizing that it’s Memorial Day weekend and that many sacrificed their lives so we could be here today — many don’t stop serving when they come home.”
In attendance were various community members, Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, Councilwoman Catherine Kent, Councilman Timothy Hubbard, and Mark Woolley from Congressman Lee Zeldin’s office. The Riverhead Middle School band played several songs during the ceremony, and the Riverhead NJROTC served as color guard as the national anthem was sung.
Andy Mitchell, Peconic Bay Medical Center president and CEO, spoke about the sacrifices men and women of the armed forces have made. He also said that numerous veterans work at the medical center.
The Peconic Auxiliary is a non-profit organization founded in 1951 to support and complement patient care and community service at the medical center. According to the auxiliary, its volunteers have donated over one million hours of service to the hospital since it was formed. Volunteers work in a variety of areas, including direct contact with patients, assisting families and visitors, and providing staff support.
The group organizes numerous fundraising initiatives including raffles, annual barbecues, a fashion show, and the Candlelight Ball, and also runs the hospital’s gift shop. The proceeds from the auxiliary’s efforts are donated to the hospital, and have helped fund new medical equipment including beds, wheelchairs, and rehabilitation equipment.
In addition to raising approximately $250,000 annually, the auxiliary has committed to raise an additional $1 million over 10 years from 2011 to 2020 to support the Building Upon the Promise of Excellence Campaign (PBMC Health Foundation).