MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
End of Active Service, for those who hit the date it is a time to hang up their utilities and prepare for their life in the civilian community. At times, many of these service members leave the military disabled, physically or mentally.
The life ahead of them may become hard at times and a shoulder to lean on may be needed. For that, veterans have Disabled American Veterans Chapter 16, a non-profit organization. The Onslow County chapter is able to assist veterans all because of donations, fundraisers and volunteers from the surrounding community including Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and its tenant commands.
Now, the chapter is hosting events to raise money and keep providing their services to military families. Fundraisers include, raffles, bingo nights, crafts sales and pig pickin's. Additionally, the chapter is also looking for volunteers to help around the chapter.
"We can help with (Veteran Affairs) claims and can also transport veterans to and from (Veteran Affairs) appointments from places like Winston-Salem to Durham," said John Bryant, the commander for Chapter 16. "Right now we're raising money to buy a 15-passenger van to help with transportation and we're also looking for more volunteers who are willing to donate some time."
Already the chapter is hosting a Christmas raffle. Several local businesses have donated prizes including meals, a laptop and gift certificates to various local stores. The cost for a raffle ticket is $15 for one ticket, or $25 for six tickets.
Another money raising event occurs every weekend and patrons have a chance to walk away with more money than they came in with. Bingo night, every Friday kicks off at 5 p.m. and the game starts at 7 p.m. During that time, a bake sale also occurs for the gamers who get a snack craving. Bryant stated that people have the chance to walk away with up to $25,000. Bingo night occurs every Friday and the entry fee is only $25.
An event that the chapter is currently preparing for is a crafts sale along with a pig pickin’, a whole pig barbequed to perfection, which is slated for October 15. The chapter is also selling vending locations at their sale, the price is only $10 or $15 if the vendor requests electricity.
"We already have volunteers, there's a group of Marines that stop by occasionally who call themselves the Jordan X volunteers and they've done a great job every time they came by," said Bryant. "Marines with 8th Engineer Support Battalion have also been a tremendous help, they've made us new bingo tables."
Although the chapter does have some volunteers, Davis stated that any assistance is welcome, from driving to helping maintain the building.
The money that is raised will be put toward purchasing a new van and is also used to buy walkers, wheelchairs and help veterans in need.
"Everything we receive goes back to the community, that's what we're here for," said Davis. "We want the veterans to know that we're always here to help them once they've left the military. This is a place they can turn to when in need."
The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 16 building is located on 300 Sherwood Road in Jacksonville, for more information, call 455-3400.