MORRIS — After going through all the necessary legal channels, the Queen of Hearts drawing at the Morris VFW Post 6049 will take place Monday. The drawing, whose pot has increased to $1.59 million, has seen the VFW hall, located at McKinley Street and Route 47 in Morris, overflowing with patrons, both on foot and in cars. The parking lot is not large enough to accommodate all that want to come to purchase tickets, causing many people to park along the street in residential neighborhoods surrounding the building.
Because of this, the VFW wrote and sent a letter to the residents in the neighborhoods, apologizing for the congestion and chaos in the recent months.
"We just wanted to thank the people that live near our building for their patience through all of this," VFW Post 6049 Commander Jerry Zeborowski said. "We also included a $10 gift certificate for our food service with every letter.
"The people that live around here have been very understanding and good neighbors to us. We know we have to be a good neighbor, too."
The letter states that the drawing will be held Friday, Sept. 22, but it will instead be held Monday, Sept. 25, in order to keep with the Monday drawing schedule that had been established. The event will come to an end Monday, as there will continue to be tickets drawn until there is a winner.
"We have to have it done Monday," Zeborowski said. "The drum we are using isn't ours. It belongs to the Lions Club, and they will need it for the raffle that they have during their car show. We aren't selling any more tickets because the drum is full."
Toni O'Brien is one resident of the neighborhood that received a letter.
"I thought it was nice of them to do that," she said. "They certainly didn't have to do that. They can't control that the pot got that big. But, it did affect us. It was hard to get in and out of the neighborhood because cars were parked on both sides and even backed up on Route 47.
"We never had to worry about parking, since we live close, but there were people just walking through yards. I know one man who had people open the gate of his back fence, walk through his back yard and open the other gate and walk out."
Zeborowski also noted that the VFW will be counting people as they enter and leave the building and will not allow more people in than the fire code allows.
"We had the fire marshal come in and tell us how many people we can have in here based on the size of the building," he said. "We want to make sure everything we are doing is legal. The last thing we want to have happen is have someone win, then find out they can't claim the prize because something we did wasn't legal or up to code.
"We are doing all we can to keep the crowds down. There are no more tickets being sold for the drawing and there will be no 50/50 drawing that night. We will put the drawing on Facebook Live, so maybe people will just watch at home."