“Boy, this is special.”

November 21, 2018

Dealership donates van to Meriden vets group, addressing dire need

MERIDEN — The Antique Veterans of Meriden accepted the keys to a new 16 passenger van Friday, courtesy of a local dealership.

The Antique Veterans started as a group of local World War II veterans, but membership is open to all veterans.

They provide honor guards for military burials, having performed more than 1,650 burials to date, according to the city website. The group also participates in parades and other events.

Ed Lynch, event coordinator and van driver, said the group was in dire need of a new vehicle to take members and equipment to events and funerals. 

“It’s got (bad) brakes, the transmission is gone, and every time it rains the water leaks down inside the windshield,” Lynch said of the previous van, a 1996 Dodge.

There were also problems with the heating and air conditioning and the van had begun to rust.

Lynch said he put the word out that the group was looking for a solution and was contacted by state Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden.

“We started about two months ago, sending fliers out, letting people know,” Lynch said. “We sent one to (Suzio) and he set it up.”

Suzio said he visited the Antique Veterans after hearing about the need for a new vehicle.

He contacted Tod Moynihan at Meriden Hyundai, who has donated vehicles to community groups in the past.

“They talked about how bad the van was and said that it was breaking down,” Suzio said. “I said ‘let me reach out into the business community so we can find a dealer’ and I was thinking of Tod immediately.”

Moynihan said he went in search of a used van for the veterans and found a 16 passenger 2014 Ford E150.

Len Suzio approached me and said there was a group of veterans that do funerals and charity work and their van was really on the outs,” Moynihan said. “When he came to me with this idea I thought ‘Boy, this is special.”