The Veterans Services Office in North Adams is assembling goodie bags to give to the region's veterans.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The service of military veterans never ends, from long-term health and wellness struggles to giving back to the community in roles like firefighting or law enforcement.
Nowhere is that more evident than with Tony Sacco, a Vietnam veteran who spends much of his time raising money to give back to other North Berkshire veterans through his role with the North Adams Elks Lodge.
Sacco on Monday morning presented a stack of Walmart and Ocean State Job Lot gift cards to the Veterans Services Office in City Hall. He was joined by Allyson Lavigne, the exalted ruler of the Elks Lodge, her son Paul, and fellow Elks Lodge member Steve Haskins.
The Walmart cards were purchased with money money raised at bingo and Texas hold 'em tournaments, Sacco said.
"We came up this year with $1,040," he said.
The Ocean State cards were the product of a promotion the national chain store had run, during which anyone donating $40 to purchase a coat for a veteran would receive a $40 Ocean State gift card back. The Elks were able to purchase 13 coats and receive 13 gift cards in return.
"It's a win-win," Sacco said. "The veterans get it and we give it back to the veterans again."
Veterans Services assistant Tina Sampson accepted the gifts and said they would be added to bags to be distributed to the 180 local veterans being served in the North Berkshire region. The bags include toiletries, socks, blankets, games, gift cards and more, all lovingly assembled by Sampson.
"I kind of individualize the veterans," she said.
Sampson said the office is grateful for the support from the Elks Club, which also supports other organizations like local food pantries and shelters.
"I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart," she said.