PAWLING – The community continues to contribute to help a Vietnam War veteran in town rehabilitate his home.
A barbecue fundraiser was held Thursday afternoon at the Pawling firehouse in honor of Daniel Flanigan. The event was billed as, “Welcome Home Private Dan Flanigan.”
Flanigan is a service-connected disabled veteran and Purple Heart recipient who lives in a 100-year-old home that is undergoing much-needed renovations.
While serving in the Mekong Delta in 1969, he suffered multiple wounds, including head injuries, when an enemy grenade exploded next to him during an ambush, according to Journal archives.
Flanigan, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, attended the barbecue.
“I am not a hero or celebrity,” he said. “I’m just one of the fortunate ones who made it back.”
The barbecue was hosted by state Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, along with Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Sheriff Butch Anderson and Purple Heart Homes, a nonprofit based in Statesville, North Carolina, that helps disabled veterans resolve housing issues.
The approximately 100 attendees paid $20 each to enjoy the grilled burgers and hot dogs, and potato salad and coleslaw.
Flanigan, 66, said he was grateful for all that has been done for him. This included a fundraiser held in April at the Patterson firehouse in Putnam County.
Much work has already been done in renovating his home on Spring Street through donations of materials, labor and money.
“It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” Flanigan said. “It’s all the grace of God and everyone’s been fantastic.”
Ball said Flanigan is a “stark reminder” of the thousands of returning Vietnam veterans whom the nation did not take care of.
“Daniel is a perfect example of a true hero who suffered enormous hardships, gave his country everything short of his life and found himself, decades after serving honorably, in a home without a useful bathroom and facing foreclosure,” Ball said.
Molinaro said the nation must do a better job of caring for its veterans.
“Let us hope we don’t have to do this for anybody else in our community, and if we do, we’ll stand up and be counted,” he said.
To donate or for more information, visit www.purplehearthomesusa.org. (ARTICLE)