Maintenance of the grounds and facilities just got a little easier at Ricardo Richards Elementary School and Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged thanks to the American Legion.
Members of Enrique Romero Nieves American Legion Post 102 donated maintenance equipment to the school and home Wednesday. The donations were warmly received by officials who said, in this climate, maintenance is a never-ending task.
The school got a power washer and drinking water dispenser and the home got a gasoline-powered weed eater and a fill-up of gas.
Annie Day Henry, vice commander of the Department of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, said around six years ago the members and auxiliary adopted Ricardo Richards Elementary School and Herbert Grigg Home as a post project.
“We make sure that when the government doesn’t provide, the Legion comes in to help,” Henry said. “As veterans we’re here to serve our community.” She said they have donated thousands of dollars worth of equipment, supplies and services.
Maria Colon-Clark, office manager at the home, said the seniors get out during the day and walk around the nicely landscaped grounds, so the weed eater will come in handy.
“They enjoy the beauty of the grounds,” Colon-Clark said. “It means a lot to see a smile on the residents’ faces.”
Cheryl Sealey-Smith, Supportive Services supervisor, said the Legion donated another weed eater three years ago that’s still used; now they can get the grounds trimmed faster.
The Legion has donated pillows, pillowcases and quilts. Last year they gave a wound-care cart with special supplies. And they have helped with maintenance. Henry said in the past they have given socks, personal items and toiletries, and have also done painting and repairs.
“We want to make sure the seniors aren’t forgotten,” Henry said.
Wendy Gonzales, principal at Ricardo Richards, said the power washer will be very useful. She said the school gets a lot of mud during heavy rains and flooding. Now they will be able to provide a safe and cleaner environment for the students.
The Legion members generally work to provide items on a wish list that is put together by school administrators and teachers. Gonzales said she appreciated the Legion came to her and asked what they could do.
In the past they have donated large rolling trashcans, chairs, paint and cleaning products. The Legion members have painted rooms, the gate and made a school sign.
“Children need positive mentors,” Henry said. “We want to let them know freedom is a sacrifice. We let them know we served our country for the liberties we have.”
Henry added that the four pillars of the Legion are doing community outreach, partnering with children, home safety and security, and advocacy for veterans.
Post 102 Cmdr. Secundino Roman-Cruz, said the V.I. government gives them a small budget for donations. They also hold fundraisers like food sales, raffles and, a lot of times, funds come out of their own pockets.
The home is a V.I. government facility under the Department of Human Services. The home’s budget comes from the local government’s General Fund. The facility is staffed 24 hours a day to provide two levels of care: long-term medical and intermediary.