COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Roland Abare is a Vietnam veteran who was injured while serving as a medic.
“People around me were getting shot up, shot down,” said Abare, describing the day he was injured. “I went to the help them up and in the process I received some metal into my body.”
Through his injury, Abare still managed to rescue some of his fellow soldiers from harm’s way.
But he says it’s the friends he couldn’t save that still haunt him.
“I just feel the guilt and the shame, that I survived and my buddies didn’t,” said Abare. “It’s a tough thing to go through day in and day out.”
Now, decades later, Abare is still serving in a different way. He volunteers his time at the Cohoes-Waterford Elks Club.
“This is my way of giving back to veterans any way I can,” said Abare.
On Sunday morning, the Elks hosted a veteran appreciation breakfast, serving up food and friendship.
Regina Hogan is the lodge Veteran Service Chairperson. Her husband died at a VA hospital, and she says his legacy is a big part of what fuels her now. She says it’s the simple things that mean so much.
“I wanted to do something over and above saying thank you,” she said.
For twenty years she’s worked with the lodge. She says Sunday’s breakfast, now in it’s third year, helps to unite the community.
“So many people are grateful for what veterans did for us and they grab onto any opportunity to honor veterans,” said Hogan.
In addition to the food and friendship, veterans in attendance were also given a small tin of mints inscribed with the message, “Cohoes Waterford Elks appreciates our veterans.”
Regina Hogan says it’s the simple things that mean so much.