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Bay Ridge bar gathers Valentine’s gifts for wounded warriors - Brooklyn Paper

Bay Ridge bar gathers Valentine’s gifts for wounded warriors

Love of country: Patrick Gualpieri and Jeffrey Swansen of the United War Veterans Council show off some of the Valentine’s Day gifts for service members that were collected at Bar Ridge on Feb. 11.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

It’s a love letter to our nation’s military families.

Bay Ridge watering hole Bar Ridge has collected dozens of donated toys and handmade Valentine’s Day cards over the past several days on behalf of the United War Veterans Council — which will be delivering goodwill gifts to wounded warriors and their kids at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Maryland next week.

“The basket was just overflowing with toys and assorted goodies,” said Molly Levi, volunteer manager and director of communications for the Council, which has been doing its Goodwill Valentine’s Caravan for eight years.

This was the first year Bar Ridge — on Fifth Avenue between 89th and 90th streets — has been involved in the effort, thanks to its new owners, who set up a collection box inside the neighborhood hot spot and asked other local business owners and customers to contribute.

“A lot of us on Fifth Avenue, the bar owners, are very close, so we all worked together on this, and the patrons understand why this is important, and so they want to help out as well,” said Bar Ridge’s new co-owner — and Levi’s nephew — Michael Crapanzano. “It’s important that we give back to those who have given so much.”

The Council, which runs the New York City Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan, has held several collections and giveaways at borough presidents’ and district attorneys’ offices citywide.

The Council also held a Valentine’s Day event with Elmo at the Child Development Center at Fort Hamilton on Feb. 7.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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