VFW honors New Era for cap donation

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 11, 2005

For the past two Decembers, Demopolis’s New Era cap plant has made a generous donation of new caps to the veterans at the Tuscaloosa V.A. hospital, just in time for their annual Christmas party. Thursday afternoon, New Era and manager Alvin Williams received a small donation of their own.

Members of Marengo Memorial VFW Post 5377, who had had the honor of receiving the caps and delivering them to the veterans at the hospital, showed their appreciation for New Era’s generosity by presenting Williams with a plaque honoring the company’s efforts.

“I’m only accepting this on behalf of everyone who works here,” Williams said. “They’re the ones who make it happen. We’ll do it every year if we can.”

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The presentation was made all the more special for Williamson by the involvement of his longtime friend Broughton Rogers, a veteran of the war in Iraq only recently returned to his Linden home.

“Supporting our troops is the number-one thing we can do,” Williams said. “Having a close friend since you were kids over there makes it even easier.”

Strong support for veterans is nothing new for New Era. Williams said the plant pitched in to send a number of care packages overseas to Albert Daniels, a New Era employee deployed to Iraq who returned several months ago. An Iraqi flag brought back by Daniels and embroidered at New Era now hangs on the plant’s wall.

“We had to,” Williams said. “He was one of our own.”

Even if the ties between the company and the veterans at the Tuscaloosa VA aren’t quite as strong as the ones to Daniels, Lee Belcher, a longtime member of the Marengo Memorial VFW post, says that that doesn’t mean the donation of caps isn’t making a big difference.

“Go up to the VA nowadays,” Belcher says, “and you’ll see a whole bunch of guys walking around with New York Yankees hats that they donated.”

Belcher estimated that between the two Christmases New Era has worked with Post 5377, the company has donated nearly $12,000 worth of caps. He added that, even putting aside the importance of receiving any extra gift at Christmas, the prevalence of hats at the VA made the donations especially useful.

“Tell you what,” he said, “You go up to the VA, and if you see any guy there without a hat on, I’ll buy you dinner.”