Veterans helping veterans: American Legion & VFW partner for hurricane relief in LaPlace

Published 10:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2021

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LAPLACE — Members of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars came together to support fellow veterans and the community at large this past weekend in LaPlace.

American Legion Post 383 of LaPlace, American Legion Post 396 of Metairie and VFW Post 3337 of LaPlace distributed non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies and other household essentials to victims of Hurricane Ida Saturday and Sunday at 205 W. Fifth Street of LaPlace.

American Legion Post 383 Commander Allan Reynaud is proud of the response of both organizations. The success of the distribution shows how veterans stick together and become beacons of hope through the most difficult circumstances.

VFW Post 3337 Quartermaster Ray Bass reached out to Reynaud on behalf of Commander Lance Ellis. According to Reynaud, this is only one example of how leaders have worked to strengthen the bond between the two organizations in recent years.

Both the American Legion and the VFW are ardent supporters of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Reserve. They are also involved in the annual Veterans Day parade and have supported the Young Marines program in St. John Parish.

American Legion Post 396, stationed in Metairie, is led by Commander Gene Franques of LaPlace and has also been a consistent supporter of veterans’ initiatives in St. John Parish.

“So much of our membership crosses over from the Legion to the VFW and vice versa. It’s very meaningful because we pretty much have the same goals, helping veterans and helping the community,” Reynaud said. “We’re very grateful for our brothers and sisters in the VFW for giving us the opportunity to work together. We are here for the long haul. We are part of the community. We will be part of the community in the years ahead.”

Many of the veterans who helped distribute supplies this weekend were badly impacted by the storm themselves. Even the VFW Hall, where the distribution was held, was still running on generator power four weeks after Hurricane Ida struck LaPlace.

Hurricane relief donations were supplied by compassionate volunteers from across the country.

Hot meals were handed out on Saturday after a volunteer from Mobile, Alabama brought in some of the best barbecue the Legionnaries had ever tasted. Meanwhile, American Legion Post 179 traveled to LaPlace from Southwest Louisiana with an abundance of supplies, and two ladies from a food pantry in North Carolina arrived in a U-Haul truck stocked with donations. Donations were also directed to the Bayou Parishes south of St. John.

Post 396 Commander Gene Franques said the supplies were much-needed and welcomed by the community. Items including but not limited to canned goods, cleaning supplies, shovels, rakes and hygiene items were distributed to both veterans and civilians.

“It shows the unity of veterans helping veterans, as well as the public,” Franques said.

As food options become more widely available, Reynaud said the American Legion and VFW want to focus on distributing cleaning supplies and other household items.