Letter To The Editor From Councilman Mayoka: Mission Accomplished for Captain James Byler
Thank you all for making possible the home renovation project for Captain James Byler, our own hometown Huntington hero.
I first met James almost two years ago when I was part of a crowd of hundreds that greeted him at MacArthur airport during a busy holiday week.
On that day I resolved to find the funding and organization needed to make his home handicapped accessible for the injuries he sustained serving our country and protecting our lives and liberties. My father is a Korean War veteran and my father-in-law is WWII veteran. I am a 9-11 survivor and have always been a strong supporter of veteran causes and I felt that this was my duty.
In my quest, I found Building Homes for Heroes, a nonprofit organization led by Andy Pujol. They have worked tirelessly to help raise funds and coordinate the construction project. I am grateful to Andy Pujol and his team for their efforts.
I next held a town hall meeting to ask for help in raising funds. The support was overwhelming.
Shortly thereafter, the Blue Sky Reign band and Nag’s Head Ale House in Huntington village hosted the first fund raiser that raised over $10,000. I want to thank them.
Kevin O’Neill from the John W Engeman Theater in Northport sponsored a Broadway salute that raised over $30,000. I want to thank Kevin. At the same time BAE Systems pledged $15,000 I want to thank BAE Systems, Donna Linke-Klein and Maria Felix and all the employees from BAE for making that happen.
By this time I knew that the goal was in sight and that WE would accomplish our task at hand. I want to thank the Huntington Veterans Advisory Committee, the East Northport Chamber of Commerce, the Ronald Reagan Club, the Kiwanis Organization, the Lions Club, the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts and the many other organizations that made this day possible.
I want to thank all the Huntington Fire departments and the Huntington Community First Aid Squad. I want to thank them all for sponsoring the many fund raising drives that took place.
I want to thank Fred Giachetti who came to the town hall meeting and established a contact with JP Morgan Chase Bank and Building Homes for Heroes which resulted in a deal to provide 10 homes to wounded veterans each year through 2016. What a remarkable accomplishment!
I want to thank Brothers Gary and Joshua from St Anthony’s High School for sponsoring a 5K race organized by senior John Feinberg that raised over $10,000. I want to thank the architect Matt Korn who donated his services.
I want to thank the general contractor Doug Hermann and all the 63 other contractors that donated their time and materials.
WE accomplished our goal and should be proud of the many individuals and businesses that made this possible.
I want to thank everyone again and again for giving of themselves and being there to give Captain James Byler and his family the support that they deserve.
God Bless Captain James Byler and God Bless the United States of America
Councilman Mark Mayoka