BOGOTA, N.J — The Bogota Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) received a $2,500 grant from Home Depot for new lighting to brighten the West Shore Avenue facility on Wed. Dec. 9
Maintenance crews had installed more cost-effective lighting in all but one row — that's currently awaiting replacement — in less than three hours.
The new lighting will benefit several community groups including wrestlers, churchgoers and veterans that occupy the space.
“We went to fight, so whatever way people express themselves, we embrace that and we want them to be able to enjoy their freedom,” VFW Commander Alex Hernandez said.
Hernandez served on a Bergen County review committee for Patriot's Pen, an essay contest where students' submissions were based on the theme “What Freedom Means to Me."
One participant's work was disqualified for not properly answering the question. But the 12-year-old Glen Rock girl's words still touched Hernandez when he read it.
“The concept was incredible,” he said. “It was the theme of not knowing any other way. She wrote 'how can I tell you what freedom is when that is all I know?' She didn't answer the question. But that was such an incredible statement."
Hernandez said activities are winding down through the end of the year, but organizations are already booking the space into the spring.
“Veterans' organizations are like trees," he said. “Once you kill this tree, it will never grow again. That’s why its our effort to keep this place going.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.