When the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall 433 needed to have their attic stairs and door repaired, they only had to look next door to the Sayville Community Ambulance for help. Frank Sinisi, 56, a retired New York City Union Carpenter for Local 157 with over 30 years’ experience, from Sayville, offered his services gratis to the VFW Hall.
“They signed a blank check for my freedom; the least I could do is give back to them,” Sinisi said of organizing other union members to help with the project.
For the past five years, Sinisi has served the Community Ambulance and for the past 22 years served the West Sayville Fire Department. In charge of plowing the Community Ambulance premises, which is next door to the VFW Hall during the winter months, Sinisi has taken care of the veterans’ parking lot for many seasons. When he heard the VFW was in need of repair, he offered his expertise immediately and took to Facebook to ask his union brethren for assistance. Within minutes, he had a crew of four journeymen from all over Long Island volunteering their time and skills to aid the veterans.
“The union has a longstanding relationship with veterans,” he said. “We have programs to help soldiers transition into union carpentry jobs. It was such a natural fit for my brothers and I to take on this project because we’re all family in this line of work.”
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, Sinisi and friends Tom Lowery and Terry Hoffman of Brightwaters (Local 157), Patrick Glynn of Bay Shore (Local 157) and Sean Desmond of Bayport (Local 45) gathered, and in their characteristic ribbing (e.g. making fun of Desmond for his contemporary fop haircut) set to work on the improvements to the building.
The existing stairs providing access to an attic were over 30 years old and estimated “to have been original to the building,” said Sinisi. The wear and tear from 30 years of functions, storage, and access to utilities had taken its toll on the stairs and accompanying attic door. The VFW was able to purchase a new set of stairs, but with such a limited budget could not afford a contractor. Upon hearing of this, Sinisi moved into action and promised he would gather skilled union tradesmen to complete the job. The response to his post asking for gratis assistance was overwhelming and enthusiastic.
Taking less than three hours to complete (“If we didn’t horse around so much it would’ve been done in two hours,” Sinisi joked), the VFW Hall now has brand-new stair access to its attic to better accommodate events for the community that it has served so well these past few decades.