Pat Toro served his nation in wartime and his community ever since. Now he needs the community to be there for him.
Toro, a Marine who fought in Vietnam, is suffering from cancer, and desperately needs blood donations. A blood drive has been organized for him April 15 in Whitestone, but at least 40 people have to register for it ahead of time for it to go forward. As of the Chronicle’s press time Wednesday, fewer than half that number have, according to a source familiar with the push.
Toro contracted cancer due to exposure to Agent Orange, the notorious defoliant used during the war by the United States to expose enemy soldiers.
“Pat faithfully served his country and now he needs the Queens community to help him,” Michael Bilski of the Vietnam Veterans of America said in a Facebook post seeking blood donors. “Please call and make an appointment to stand up for a stand up guy and an American veteran.”
Toro served in the Marines’ Aviation Division in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. He was a police officer with both the New York Police Department and the Port Authority Police Department.
He was president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32, in Glendale, from 2001 to 2010, and is now the VVA’s at-large director and director of its New York State Southern Council. He is also on the board of the annual Maspeth Memorial Parade Committee.
He ended up “on a first-name basis with all the politicians in Queens,” VVA Chapter 32 President Paul Narson said.