“E J” Knapik, front right, swore in officers on Thursday, April 19, for the newly formed Rotterdam AMVETS Post No. 35. Being sworn in, from left, are Judge Advocate Robert Becker Jr., Finance Officer Michael McGrath, Commander Angelo Santabarbara, First Vice Commander Douglas VanIderstyne, Provost Marshall Fredrick Whelan and Second Vice Commander Anthony Guzzardi.
continued Knapik said he was “very glad” to see the post formed, because recruiting members isn’t as easy as it used to be. He has previously helped form a post in Amsterdam.
“It is hard to believe there is going to be an active post in this area,” he said. “It is a good start for the Rotterdam area and they should do well. I have nothing but high hopes for them.”
He said it is important for a group to have activities to keep and attract interested members and Santabarbara said the group is already brainstorming fundraiser ideas and ways to reach out to the community. Santabarbara said he is hoping to get the post involved in local parades and veteran ceremonies.
“It is a great way to support veterans,” Santabarbara said. “It is a group of people that are really interested in doing community service.”
The group exceeded its goal of 21 members, inducting 24, to become a chartered post. Santabarbara said the group also choose the post number “35” to honor the former Schenectady post.
“That had some significance to the area, so everybody agreed that that was appropriate to revive and have AMVETS Post No. 35 make a comeback,” he said. “It is a completely new post. The group didn’t want to take any shortcuts. They wanted to start a post form scratch and work at it and put some effort in it.”
The post holds a monthly meeting on the fourth Thursday at the Gabriele D’Annunzio Sons of Italy Lodge No. 321 in Rotterdam. Veterans interested in joining the group can contact Santabarbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.