Southold will take the time Wednesday to pay tribute to heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to preserve the nation’s freedom.
A Veterans Day service will be held at 11 a.m. at Southold’s American Legion Post 803, located at 51655 Main Road.
During the service, the Ladies Auxiliary will present a $10,000 check to the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind’s America’s VetDogs program.
America’s VetDogs is a not-for-profit organization that serves the needs of disabled veterans; VetDogs provides dogs for those who are blind or have low vision; hearing dogs; service dogs for those with other physical disabilities; facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals, and PTSD dogs to help mitigate effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome, with an eye toward providing physical and emotional support.
A veteran and his dog will be at the ceremony, said Denise Thilberg of the Southold American Legion’s Ladies Auxiliary, to help demonstrate how the four-legged friend is trained to help in all situations. A dog can even help a veteran who may have fallen, she said.
The Ladies Auxiliary reaches out to help each Veterans Day: Last year, Ladies Auxiliary co-president Dot Charnews awarded veteran and Marine Sergeant Luis Ramache with a $3,500 gift certificate to Raymour & Flanigan, to help furnish a new home.
Veterans, she said, return home forever changed, facing loss of limbs, tramautic brain injury, paralysis, blindness and other challenges, and must “relearn” how to walk in homes, once sanctuaries, that aren’t fitted to their needs.
Ramache’s new house was built by Homes for our Troops, she said; he was serving his third deployment in Afghanistan in 2011 when he lost his legs after a grenade blast. He also suffered severe lacerations and injuries to his hands, and has since endured many surgeries.
But, attending the event with his wife Cynthia, Ramache said he is often told that he is a hero. “It was just a job, helping my brothers each and every day,” he said. Seeing the community turn out in force for the ceremony, he said, “means a lot. Not all my fellow brothers made it back. They paid the ultimate sacrifice, and some never came home.”
Giving back to veterans, said Thilberg, is integral to the mission of the Ladies Auxiliary. “That’s what we’re supposed to do, to help.” Of the VetDogs program, she said plans have been in place for two years to present the donation to the organization. “We feel very good about doing it,” she said.