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DAV Veterans in Bladen County are making a difference

By Charlotte Smith
The Robert Curtis Hester Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 99 are striving to make a difference in Bladen County. DAV is a nonprofit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, helping more than 1 million veterans in positive, life-changing ways each year.
This week after the local DAV meeting it was made clear, the Veterans in Bladen County and their families, are also dedicated to making a difference in their communities.
The officers of Chapter 99 Veterans went over old and new business.
Veteran Luther Wright reminded those in attendance the time was drawing near to help with the annual Toys for Tots Toy Drive here in Bladen County. Toys for Tots is a program organized by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys every year to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.
Ms. Cameron Jones, Director of Toys for Tots, said this year’s goal is for the local DAV Veterans to collect 2,000 up to 2,500 toys.
The drop off locations are as follows:

* Bladen County Public Libraries in Bladenboro, Clarkton and Elizabethtown.

* Cape Fear Heating & Cooling, LLC office located at 1110 S. Poplar Street, Elizabethtown.

* CresCom Bank located at 201 W. Broad Street, Elizabethtown.

* Lu Mil Vineyard located at 438 Suggs-Taylor Road, Elizabethtown. (near Dublin).

* The Rent-A-Center located at 1311 West Broad Street in Elizabethtown.

* The Division on Aging located at 608 McLeod Street in Elizabethtown.

* Senior Centers in Bladenboro and Elizabethtown.

* Sharon View Credit Union located at 166616 NC Hwy. 87 in Tar Heel.

The DAV Veterans will collect the toys from each location around the first of December. Then, in December the Veterans will help distribute the toys to local children, according to Ms. Carmen.

In addition to the Toys for Tots Toy Drive project the Veterans discussed their other service projects plans.
“As a reminder, on Nov. 30th, the Veterans Council will meet at Cindy’s at 1500. This meeting will be for officers to work together on plans we have trying to help contact Veterans that are not reached in our area,” Veteran Wright said.
He added, “We are also looking for pro bono lawyers.”
Next on the agenda for service project, Commander David Brown said, “I am going to the school counselors about the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program.”
The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program honors young volunteers who are dedicated to serving veterans. Each year, one outstanding applicant receives the top scholarship in the amount of $20,000 to help fund their higher education. In addition, the top winner and parent receives an expense paid trip to DAV National Convention to receive the award and be recognized for their dedication and commitment to veterans, according to the information Commander Brown distributed at the meeting.

Another important topic the local DAV chapter is trying to raise funds to repair their building in Elizabethtown. The building is currently in need of a new roof and some repairs to a room in the building.

The members held a raffle for a 270 Rifle from Allen Brothers Hunting Preserve. The drawing for the raffle took place at the Pork & Beats Festival. According to Treasurer Neil (Tojie) King, there were 215 tickets sold and Roy Parker from Dublin was the winner. The DAV made a profit of about $1,200, however, in order to make the needed repairs to the building more fundraisers will need to be held, according to Veteran King.

Veteran Wright said, “We need to have at least five fundraisers next year. There is an avid need for a roof.”

The estimated cost of the new roof is about $5000 and to fix the meeting room is estimated to cost about $600.

The DAV did receive $200 in donations from local businesses and citizens during business. If you would like to make a donation for the repairs to the DAV building you may contact Commander David Brown or Treasurer Neil King. Checks made payable to Robert Curtis Hester Chapter 99 may be mailed to 502 South Cypress Street Elizabethtown, NC 28337.

The DAV Veterans are meeting at Veterans of Foreign Wars building located at 109 Hill Street in Elizabethtown until repairs are made. Veteran King did say he is at the location on Cypress Street on Tuesdays if anyone would like to stop by with a donation.

The DAV are working to recruit more members and help more local Veterans. At last meeting the chapter had three new members. Veteran of the US Army, Lewis Chancy was welcomed to as a new member from Council on Tuesday evening.
“I’m excited to be here. Thank you for letting me be part of the team,” Veteran Chancy stated.
Other business the Veterans discussed before standing for a moment of silence and saluting the flag in adjourning the meeting were as follows:
There will be a DAV Christmas pot-luck dinner on Dec. 17 at 6 pm and the VFW will hold their Christmas dinner on Dec. 19th at the Hill Street location.
Veteran Johnny Anderson announced on Dec. 7th another event. Patriot Hunts will hold their annual pheasant shoot for the disabled veterans at Allen Brothers Hunting Preserve. He said, “If you’ve never been is really fun, you can find out the information about the event on their website.”
There will be 65 families selected to participate in hunt. For more information you may visit the Patriot Hunts website or email
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