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Cow Harbor Warriors set Sept. date to honor veterans

The Cow Harbor Warriors have set a September date for what they hope becomes their annual event to honor veterans, festivities that were derailed last year over questions about their accounting practices.

The weekend of Sept. 5-7 is slated to include recreation, celebration and appreciation for wounded veterans and veterans in need from recent conflicts and their families, hosted by the Northport-based nonprofit, organizers said.

"We can get back to putting on this weekend on behalf of veterans who are wounded" from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and veterans in need, said Rocco Donnino, president of the Cow Harbor Warriors. "We just realize it's going to take private funding and organizations like us to help these vets and provide the funds to organizations that advance their recovery."

Last year, the Northport American Legion Post 694 asked village of Northport officials to withhold permits the Warriors had requested for use of certain venues for a 2013 weekend.

They wanted the group to produce bank statements, checks and invoices from its first event in 2012 because they questioned the accounting practices and whether funds raised were reaching local veterans. The Cow Harbor Warriors had also failed to secure a permit from the county allowing them to raise funds for veterans.

In November, the county issued the group a one-year permit to raise money for county veterans.

This month, the Huntington Town board approved allowing the group to use Crab Meadow Beach for a four-mile run, various water sports and a sunset clam bake on Sept. 6.

"They have an event planned that is terrific and raises money for wounded veterans," town board member Mark Cuthbertson said. "We are happy to give them permission to access town parks."

The board also plans to apply to the state for a temporary liquor license for the group.

Northport Village Clerk Donna Koch said Wednesday the group has been given the green light to hold events within the village for that weekend.

John Cooney, spokesman for Post 694 and Huntington VFW Post 1469 said the group has taken important first steps such as getting permits to legally raise funds and supporting "legitimate veterans" in need at the Northport VA Medical Center. "We hope that they continue with their positive steps and provide clarity to the community as to the destination of future proceeds, disburse funds in a timely manner and ensure that individuals appearing and receiving support accurately represent their service., including whether they were truly wounded in combat, especially in light of the limited resources available to help the growing number of veterans and families that are truly in need."

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