The 7th annual Council 4 Picnic for Veterans takes place Saturday, May 29, 2010 at the State Veterans Home in Rocky Hill, CT
Council 4 sponsors this annual picnic every Memorial Day weekend,. It is a festive day, as union members volunteer to prepare and serve food all day to residents and their families.
The picnic is our primary fund-raising vehicle to improve programs, services and the quality of life for veterans living at the State Home.
Since 2004, Council 4, with help from the AFL-CIO, AFSCME International, state agencies (particularly the Department of Correction), private businesses and other supporters, has raised approximately $250,000, paying for the construction of athletic fields, a brand new fitness center with high impact flooring, a new computer lab, flat panel TVs for the lounges and the purchase of custom-made lawn and picnic furniture.
Among the many special moments was in 2006, when members of Council 4 contacted the renowned custom motorcycle manufacturer Orange County Choppers to build a veterans-themed motorcycle for a special raffle. The bike was auctioned off at the picnic.
The Council 4 Veterans Picnic has become an annual institution, with the underlying fund now available for donations to veterans programs around the state. Members of AFSCME Local 1522 (Bridgeport City and Board of Education), for example, donated $3,000 to purchase a van for Homes for the Brave, a vocational and rehabilitation center for homeless veterans in Bridgeport.
Two years ago, AFSCME International established a Matching Fund for Veterans initiative inspired by the Council 4 Picnic for Veterans.
“We’re honored that AFSCME International has taken our model nationwide,” said Council 4 Veterans Picnic Committee Chair Mark Blumenthal of AFSCME Local 566. “It speaks to our union’s special commitment to the men and women who serve our country.”