South Jersey VFW struggling with pandemic gets help from Heroic Gardens

EVESHAM TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "We're a brotherhood and we continue to be a brotherhood," said U.S. Army veteran Stephen Leoniy about his time in the service. "That's the purpose of the VFW is camaraderie amongst other veterans."

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the halls of their Marlton post have been largely empty.

"We had to close down. We can't have hall rentals, fundraisers, pig roasts and stuff like that," said Leoniy. "So, a lot of the posts are hurting right now, so, we're barely hanging on."

Leoniy, who is the Post Commander at the Marlton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6295, was happy to have volunteers from Heroic Gardens visit today. Members of the VFW joined in to clean and beautify the landscaping around the building.

"Heroic Gardens is a 100% volunteer organization that works to provide U.S. veterans and their families across the Delaware Valley with plants and nature," said Collie Turner, its founder and executive director.

Turner, whose father and grandfather both served in the U.S. Military, hopes her efforts will reach more veterans in the area through the cooperation of local township and state officials.

"We're hoping that beyond the folks that have been here that served in World War Two and Vietnam, we hope some of our new veterans that are coming back now will join," she said.

Leoniy says those new members will be crucial to the VFW's survival.

"I'm glad to see the civic pride assisting veterans in this day of age," he said. "I'd like to keep it prosperous, bringing this post back to its former glory like it should be."

To learn more about the Marlton VFW or Heroic Gardens, visit their websites.

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