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'Hoops For Troops' Volunteers Spruce Up Bogota VFW, Send Packages Overseas

From left, Evan Lewis, Kristen Coppola, both of Jersey Cares, and Phaedron Bolton, an employee of the NBA, prepare boxes for troops at the Bogota VFW. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Members of the NBA listen to Post Commander Alex Hernandez. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Group photo. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Volunteers and military members from the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard reviewed project forms and wrote letters to troops overseas. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

BOGOTA, N.J. — NBA employees joined U.S. military personnel and civilian volunteers from Jersey Cares at Bogota VFW Post 5561 on Friday to fill boxes with essentials to be shipped to troops overseas.

The teams -- including members of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army -- packed socks, t-shirts, toiletries and more along with letters of appreciation.

That wasn't all: They also repainted two bathrooms in the facility.

“Our job is to try to keep this place going so when you find yourself in your late 50s or 60s, you can empathize,” Alex Hernandez, the VFW commander, who recently retired from the Army after 34 years.

Kristen Coppola, the NBA corporate service manager, and Evan Lewis, the corporate relations manager at  Jersey  Cares, directed crews on projects and clean-up.

The NBA honors veterans from Nov. 3-11, but its Hoops For Troops is a year-round initiative.

It offers teams and players ways to collaborate with the Department of Defense, USO and other military and veteran organizations.

“What you’re doing now is a gift to us that we can turn around and give to others," Hernandez said. "If this building doesn’t help veterans in the community, it’s just a building, and then all we do is rent it for parties.

"That’s not the purpose of this building. The primary purpose is for veterans and to help the community.” 


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