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Free turkeys and more are a show of support for veterans at Freeport's annual Veterans Stand Down

Veterans get donations for Thanksgiving on Long Island
Veterans get donations for Thanksgiving on Long Island 02:23

FREEPORT, N.Y. -- There was a show of support for veterans on Long Island for Thanksgiving

They gave so much, and now many need help. 

Hundreds of volunteers were united in a spirit of giving in Freeport. 

Curley Jones drove up to the Freeport Armory and was quickly overcome by generosity,

The 93-year-old Army veteran, now a widower, commanded a tank battalion in the Korean War.

"It's a pleasure to be here and meet all my friends and vets," Jones said.

He was among 300 veterans to receive free turkeys, hams, winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves and blankets which were donated by companies and nonprofits across Long Island at Freeport's annual Veterans Stand Down.

"I think it will bring them up psychologically, get them some things they need. They have the support between Nassau County and Village of Freeport," Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy said.

"I'm so proud we are able to host this, and it's going to mean a happy Thanksgiving for many, many veterans," Nassau County Legislator Debra Mule added.

"It takes a lot of my heart and I just love everyone," Jones added. "I'm just glad to be able to serve my country, you know? I'm blessed with everything else."

Dozens of volunteers collected the donations and loaded vets' vehicles in a drive-through Thanksgiving. 

Among the nonprofits to take part was General Needs of Long Island.

"We did a study over the summer that shows the benefits of having a good new pillow and how it can benefit a veteran with PTSD," said Susan Sherman of General Needs.

The number of homeless veterans has plunged on Long Island. A decade ago there were 700, but now 100 report living in shelters.

"I live alone and I'm doing just fine, though," Jones said.

"My heart goes (thump). I love this. I really do. It means so much to be helping people," said Ralph Esposito, director of Nassau Veterans Services.

"It means a whole lot being a vet, protecting our country. Awesome and a wonderful thing. If I had to, I'd do it all over again," Jones said.

Jones added this holiday he feels special gratefulness, joy, and prosperity.

"I want to wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving," he said.

Long Island is home to more than 100,000 veterans. All are encouraged to take advantage of military services help offered this holiday.  

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