Alfred Zaccagnino, president and founder of Samarian Group and long-time friend — and Yankee fan — purchased gifts and books this Christmas for kids from the local Boys and Girls clubs. This has been a long-standing tradition for Zaccagnino and his company.
This year Alfred took it a step further when he asked me to bring my book, "Yankee Miracles," to the soldiers at Fort Totten in Queens, New York.
Many of those soldiers were being deployed to different areas of the Mideast so it was a great honor to sit with them and talk about baseball, the Yankees — and life.
The soldiers loved hearing stories about my life with the Bronx Bombers and of course George Steinbrenner. They cheered when I told them how the Boss felt about the U.S. military.
Ricardo Cardona, executive chef of the great Cuban restaurant, Son & Cubano which is located in West New York, N.J., fed everyone at the event. Ricardo received even more appreciation when the soldiers found out that he actually cooks meals for the Yankees throughout the season.
Many of the latin players are consistently found eating their favorite meals at Son & Cubano. Today I met many veterans that fought for our country in Korea and Vietnam and they are just happy that they haven’t been forgotten.
I met Alfred Zaccagnino because of my love for the arts. His company also produces motion pictures and his philanthropic ways have made it easy to like this man.
For the last 10 years Alfred has thrown the Kips Bay Boys and Girls club it’s annual Christmas party. He will be back at Kips Bay on December 21st for the eleventh year.
Alfred is a true giver at heart and is dedicated to brining opportunities to struggling communities.
Throughout the years when I worked for the Boss, he used to tell me not to tell people of his philanthropic deeds. Whenever I could though, I would tell certain people.
Sometimes the Boss would find out and ask me why I needed to tell others.
I would tell him that when people find out the good things that he does, it gives them the incentive to do more for those that need help. At this time of year, I can only say that I’m grateful to the New York Yankees for always living up to the wonderful giving ways of the Boss. So many were able to have to a nice Thanksgiving and will be able to have a nice Christmas because of the Yankee way.
(Photo credit: Ray Negron)
To all the soldiers and families of the 354th Movement Control Battalion (MCB), may you have a wonderful holiday season.
Our nation is safer and stronger because of what you do for us each and every day.
Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, "Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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