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Veterans Services assistant Tina Samson, right, shows the gift cards donated by the Elks, presented by Tony Sacco, left, and Steve Haskins, Allyson Lavigne and Paul Lavigne.

Elks Lodge Donates Gift Cards For North Berkshire Veterans

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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The Veterans Services Office in North Adams is assembling goodie bags to give to the region's veterans.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The service of military veterans never ends, from long-term health and wellness struggles to giving back to the community in roles like firefighting or law enforcement.

Nowhere is that more evident than with Tony Sacco, a Vietnam veteran who spends much of his time raising money to give back to other North Berkshire veterans through his role with the North Adams Elks Lodge.

Sacco on Monday morning presented a stack of Walmart and Ocean State Job Lot gift cards to the Veterans Services Office in City Hall. He was joined by Allyson Lavigne, the exalted ruler of the Elks Lodge, her son Paul, and fellow Elks Lodge member Steve Haskins.

The Walmart cards were purchased with money money raised at bingo and Texas hold 'em tournaments, Sacco said.

"We came up this year with $1,040," he said.

The Ocean State cards were the product of a promotion the national chain store had run, during which anyone donating $40 to purchase a coat for a veteran would receive a $40 Ocean State gift card back. The Elks were able to purchase 13 coats and receive 13 gift cards in return.



"It's a win-win," Sacco said. "The veterans get it and we give it back to the veterans again."

Veterans Services assistant Tina Samson accepted the gifts and said they would be added to bags to be distributed to the 180 local veterans being served in the North Berkshire region. The bags include toiletries, socks, blankets, games, gift cards and more, all lovingly assembled by Samson.

"I kind of individualize the veterans," she said.

Samson said the office is grateful for the support from the Elks Club, which also supports other organizations like local food pantries and shelters.

"I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart," she said.


Tags: donations,   elks club,   holiday story,   veterans,   veterans services,   

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Dr. Radin Named Grand Marshal of 64th Annual Fall Foliage Parade

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Dr. Len Radin has been selected as grand marshal for the upcoming 64th annual Fall Foliage parade presented by 1Berkshire.

The parade will be held in downtown North Adams on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 1 p.m. This year's parade theme is "The Wizard of Oz," both in celebration of the 80th anniversary of its Hollywood premiere, and in the promotion of the message that "there's no place like home in the Berkshires."

Dr. Radin was selected for this honor not only because of all he has done for the community, but for his enduring love for "The Wizard of Oz." He has spent more than 60 years in the theater business, including founding the nationally award-winning Drury Drama Team and serving as its volunteer director for more than 25 years.

Beloved by the community and his students alike for his volunteer service to the North Adams Public Schools, Radin led four productions of "The Wizard of Oz" in his time at theater director. He always loved this production because it was very inclusive, allowing for a large cast of more than 100 people of all ages and portions of the community. He also feels very strongly about the messaging of Frank Baum's books, like "The Wizard of Oz" series, because the most powerful characters, good or bad, are all women.

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