Manhattan 'Jewel' Offers Troops Respite

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2008 - What began in 1919 as simple lodging for servicemembers returning from World War I has since become a "jewel in the heart of Manhattan," with an expanding mission that includes supporting deployed troops.

"The main effort of the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard & Airmen's Club is to provide reasonably priced accommodations to servicemen and women, as well as any members of the (New York Police Department and New York Fire Department) in order to express our gratitude for all of their efforts," said Connie Morinello, one of the organization's committee members.

In addition, the organization founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, Gen. John J. Pershing and Cornelia Barnes Rodgers, who served with American forces in France as an ambulance driver, now offers veterans a variety of services.

"We also work with wounded warriors at events such as the NYC marathon and the Veterans Day parade," Morinello said. "(We) organize fundraisers, social gatherings and send out care packages and correspondence to troops deployed overseas and at bases nationwide."

The club recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Morinello said the club hopes this affiliation will increase its visibility among those who wish to support its efforts as well as those eligible to use the facility.

"We hope to be able to reach out to an increasing number of individuals and organizations around the country, making them aware of what we do and how we support our heroes," she said.

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