EAST ISLIP, NY—Suffolk County Deputy Presiding Officer Steve Flotteron joined Matt Simoni, founder and Executive Director of Bravo Foxtrot United Veterans, Gary Teich, owner of Lee’s Auto Body and Glass, elected and community leaders and dozens of veterans at the premier of “Long Island’s Forgotten Heroes,” a documentary produced by the organization and in partnership with Hazy Sun Productions, tells the stories of homeless veterans—some living in the woods—and their struggle in civilian life.
“Suffolk County is home to more veterans than any other county in New York State, and many of them are in dire need of help,” said Flotteron. “When I met Matt Simoni and realized what his organization was doing, I vowed to do everything possible to help them succeed in their mission.”
The film will also tell victorious stories of veterans who have, with the assistance of Bravo Foxtrot, secured homes, jobs, conquered addiction and faced physical and mental illnesses.
“We all know there are many American heroes who put their lives on the line for this great country,” said Simoni, who runs the group with the help of his wife Jade and volunteers. “They deserve every bit of help we can provide, but many don’t even know how to take the steps to identify the resources available to them that can put them on track to a better life.”
The documentary, produced with Hazy Sun Productions, follows Simoni as he seeks out veterans. In some cases, they are homeless, living in wooded areas among the communities of Long Island. Often, they are facing addiction struggles, mental illness, PTSD and poverty.
“It hurts to see so many of my fellow veterans in such pain, and that is why we formed the organization,” said Simoni. “There is so much work to do.”
One of Flotteron’s goals was to approach local businesses to support the group.
“Among so many who stepped up is Gary Teich and his son Eddie, who immediately provided their assistance in the form of donating a minibus that will be used by Bravo Foxtrot,” said Flotteron.
Teich, also the president of the East Islip Chamber of Commerce, has done many fundraising projects in his community, including several for veterans.
“Legislator Flotteron told me I had to meet Matt Simoni, and as soon as we did we offered him the bus,” said Teich. “Of course, he said yes. It will be a big part of how they serve their veterans.”
The minibus has been customized, with very personal touches to make it all about Bravo Foxtrot. It was officially unveiled and donated at the premiere of the documentary.
“The response from the community has been overwhelming, and we are very grateful,” said Simoni. “Our veterans are heroes in their own right. We owe it to every man and woman who served to do everything in our power to give them the tools and opportunities they need to flourish in civilian life.”
Fore more information about Bravo Foxtrot United Veterans, please visit www.bravofoxtrot.org or call 631-603-6077.