VFW Post 2791 canteen manager Roger Barton (left) stands by the Army Christmas tree with post commander Jerry Styrsky. | Supplied Photo
Updated: January 26, 2012 8:06AM
If you couldn’t be at home for Christmas, what would you miss? Would you miss spending time with your family, catching up with brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins? Maybe hugging your mom and dad? How about the familiar food and treats that you love and the traditions that you’ve known your whole life?
It just so happens that right here in Tinley Park we will have at least 80 recruits from the Great Lakes Naval Academy spending their Christmas away from home. I imagine that they will miss all of those things. These men and women are not being granted leave to be with their families and friends over the holidays. They are in the final weeks of boot camp and they haven’t been outside the Naval Station for nine weeks or more.
Two of our wonderful veteran organizations will be doing their best to provide them with a special Christmas experience.
The American Legion Post 615 will be hosting at least 40 of the recruits at its location at 17423 67th Court. The recruits will be at the post from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The legion will provide them with a home-cooked dinner of ham, turkey and roast beef with all the trimmings and desserts. They will also be giving them cell phones and laptop computers to use so they can contact their families.
The American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association will also be hosting approximately 40 of the recruits at VFW Post 2791 located at 17147 Oak Park Ave. They too will provide a home-cooked dinner, as well as cell phones, computers and video games for them to enjoy.
Both organizations want to show these recruits how much we appreciate them for what they are doing and for the sacrifices they are making. As veterans, they are their extended family and want to ensure that they have a great day away from the base.
Both organizations welcome the public to stop by to greet and visit with these recruits. They want a good turn out so these young men and women know how much we appreciate and support them. Senior vice commander of Post 615, Jim Taylor, who has been coordinating this event said the post has co-hosted this event with Hazel Crest for five years and is proud to be holding it here this year.
John Bartosiewicz , the commander of the American Veterans Motorcycle Riders Association’s Chapter X, said in past years they have co-hosted this event in Berwyn, Cicero and Chicago Ridge, but this will be the first time it is being held at the Tinley Park Post.
We can be proud of our veterans organizations here in Tinley Park. There seems to be no end to the efforts of their members in providing programs, assistance and support to military personnel, their families and to all veterans.
Jerry Styrsky, post commander at the VFW, filled me in on some of the events coming up at the Post. They will have their first fish fry of the year on Jan. 20. Then their regular Friday fish fry starts on Feb. 24 and is held every Friday during Lent.
The post will be putting together care packages on Jan. 31 to be sent out for Valentine’s Day.
Post 2791 will gratefully accept all donations of food, toiletries and personal items at any time. It is open from 11 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. The phone number is (708) 532-2333.
They also have bingo every Monday starting at 4 p.m. The post will partner with the village again for “Cruise Nights” this summer, and will once again be a part of the Music in the Plaza concert series.
I sincerely hope that you all have a beautiful, meaningful Christmas, and as you count your blessings today, that you count these freedom fighters among them, for where would you be on this Christmas day without your freedom?