(Click “Like” to become a fan of the Palm Coast Observer.)
Rick Cimino is the epitome of an American hero.
Cimino, a Palm Coast resident, joined the U.S. Army in 1943. He reached the rank of tech sergeant as a mechanic on the motor pool, served in World War II and is a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge. He got out of the Army in 1946.
It’s been 66 years since Cimino was an active member of the military, but now, in 2012, he’s still fighting.
Cimino is the quartermaster with the Italian American War Veterans Post No. 7. Since 1991, Cimino and other members have driven to Daytona Beach to visit mentally ill veterans who stay at the Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic, which is now located off Clyde Morris Boulevard. The clinic is a state-operated facility.
The group of three to six members, including Commander John Caia and Senior Vice Commander Ralph Moniello, head down the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.
It’s been 21 years since the group began donating its time and money to help fellow veterans. But funds have disappeared because of the down economy, Cimino said. The group used to be much larger, too.
Now, Cimino and Caia contribute about $200 each every month to continue helping America’s heroes. The money comes from their own pockets.
“Veterans are my soul,” an emotional Cimino said Monday.
The group spends about five hours in the morning with the veterans. Most of the time, they bring food and play cards with each other. During the holidays, they’ll bring gifts and warmer clothes. For Thanksgiving, turkey and all the trimmings are provided. Picnics and parties are arranged.
Recently, the money was used to buy an entertainment center with a DVD player so the veterans can watch movies.
“I don’t believe any of (the veterans) work,” Cimino said. “They are solely dependent on the government.”
The Palm Coasters weren’t always close with the veterans, either. It took time to establish trust and a relationship.
“In the beginning ... they were a little wary about who we were,” Cimino said. “Strangers were strange. It took a while for them to open up. Since then, they’ve become very friendly.”
This week, Post 7 will bring chicken, mashed potatoes, bread and dessert.
“It’s heartwarming to go there; I just love it,” Cimino said, smiling. “It’s one of the things that you can work doing something in this manner and not many people care. But we know they care.”
Currently 0 Responses
25 Pig Roast & Membership Drive
2:00 pm - 6:00 am
25 Jam Session in the Park
25 NAACP Meeting
6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Cuddle up: Moose lodges donate dolls for children
This spring, Palm Coast Moose Lodge 2577 donated a box of 12 Tommy Moose dolls to bring comfort to children in times of stress, uncertainty or anxiety.
High School students donate to breast cancer patients
The Flagler Palm Coast High School Future Business Leaders of America class donated $580 to Florida Hospital Flagler Foundation’s breast cancer fund, which provides screening mammograms, diagnostic studies and education to local qualified women who are uninsured and seeking assistance.
Florida Hospital Flagler gives $2,000 in scholarships
Florida Hospital Flagler's medical staff donated $2,000 in scholarships to four graduating high school students.