MASSENA - The 501c3 charity Operation Grateful Nation (OGN) has announced a significant gift on behalf of returning veterans in St Lawrence County.
John and Resa Wing recently gave their St Lawrence River estate at 407 Sstate Route 131 to OGN. The real estate transaction, appraised at $525,000 was part of a larger gift by the Wings, according to an OGN spokesman Lindsay Ashmore.
John and Resa not only gave the property to OGN for exclusive use by veterans, but also exquisitely furnished the home and provided everything the veterans need. Theres a beautiful heated swimming pool, sauna, five bedrooms, multiple flat screen TVs, sound system, boat dock, a new pontoon boat equipped for wheelchair use, kayaks, and everything else the troops need and deserve. The Wings also pay the operating costs privately, with no costs to OGN or the veterans.
Bob Giordano, president of Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures, said, The OGN property has become a cornerstone of our ability to serve veterans in the north country. It provides the best housing and recreational facilities most of them have ever seen. Prior to gifting the property, the Wings met with many of us who are involved in serving our veterans to insure that the property was the perfect place for those who have given so much. We are booked solidly into the future with veterans seeking to get their feet back under them by enjoying the beautiful north country.
Don Meissner, spokesperson for FISHCAP, said, John Wing came here last fall to meet with us. We discussed how to integrate their property, dedicated to veterans, into our broader outdoor experience. We will honor veterans at our first major bass tournament this August, and the OGN property will provide the perfect venue. We will have veterans not only from Ft. Drum, but from around the world seeing first-hand how much we respect their service and sacrifice.
As a university that has been nationally recognized for its military friendly campus and successful ROTC program, we applaud the support the Wing family has made to our regions returning veterans and the work of Operation Grateful Nation, said Tony Collins, president of Clarkson University.
Resa Wing said, John is a Vietnam vet, and is 90 percent disabled as a result. Hes never let that stop him from trying anything in life and has a long list of mentors who helped him along the way. He does the same for current vets, addressing each veterans needs, problems and develops their potential to build a new life. We created and support OGN principally because it provides careers, education, housing and other lifelong necessities for disabled veterans.
But in this case we decided to focus on creating both a healing and enjoyable interlude for our veterans......a place they can reunite with nature and their families, and then move on. We thank Bob and Don for helping us get this moving, and we hope veterans groups, the educational community, the faith based community, local businesses and the public will help this effort grow and prosper, she said.
John said, We are a better country than weve shown our veterans. Waiting years for veterans services from our government is inexcusable; sadly its the norm. We all need to help these kids. Many folks dont know where to start. Well, this is a great place to take a first step. Give my friend Bernie Lashomb a call; come by and see the place and what were doing. Bernie is the person that makes the place, as the vets say, the best experience my family and I have ever had or give Bob or Don a shout. Theyll tell you how you can join in.