Fundraiser dinners in Dover, New Castle help veterans in need

 

DOVER — The Friends of Delaware Veterans are determined to catch those who served the nation and who might be falling through the cracks as they struggle with the cares of civilian life.

But doing so takes money.

So to raise needed money, the Friends will hold two fundraising dinners, the first on Nov. 6 in Dover and the second Nov. 14 in New Castle.

“The great majority of military veterans successfully reintegrate into their communities, said Dave Skocik, Friends president.

“But there are always some who fall between the cracks. Those are the ones we help.”

The dinners, black-tie optional, will raise money to help veterans who may be in financial need.

Frank Vavala

Frank Vavala

Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard, will give the keynote speech at the Nov. 6 Dover event at the Modern Maturity Center. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m.

Retired Rear Adm. Kenneth Braithwaite will serve as the keynote speaker for the Nov. 14 dinner at the Clarion Belle Hotel in New Castle.

Tickets are $100 and include dinner and musical entertainment. All profits go to the Veterans Trust Fund.

Reservations for both events must be made by Nov. 2. No tickets will be sold at the door.

The non-profit Friends of Delaware Veterans consists of community leaders from across the state. It works under the auspices of the Commission of Veterans Affairs and handles the fundraising for the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund, which assists veterans with financial emergencies by covering costs associated with transportation, home repairs, household utilities, homelessness support and educational programs.

“Our board are all volunteers and community leaders from across the state,” Mr. Skocik said. “We meet at the Commission of Veterans Affairs office in Dover and enjoy some limited support. We have no overhead expenses.”

The Trust Fund was signed into law on Sept. 17, 2013, by Gov. Jack Markell. Beyond an initial $25,000 grant, the fund depends on private contributions.

The fund has paid veterans’ bills to prevent shutoff of utilities, repossessions and emergency repairs.

One recipient, a World War II veteran, was provided a replacement for his 12-year-old eyeglasses. Another had a storage bill paid so he could access his tools and accept a job, said Mr. Skocik.

“One hundred percent of the contributions that we receive goes to pre-screened, honorably discharged Delaware veterans and their families in verified financial emergency,” Mr. Skocik said.

“Donations are tax-deductible. Money is not handed to recipients. Their bills are paid directly to creditors by the screening committee after they are approved for payment.”

Grants are designed to be a one-time event rather than a recurring payment.

Mr. Skocik said it’s a matter of pride and satisfaction to help veterans in need.

“The majority of our board are veterans and know the stresses of service, both individually and on the family,” Mr. Skocik said.

“The vast majority does well and prosper from the disciplines they learn and live,” Mr. Skocik added.

“However, some, whether due to physical or psychological injuries, or just the misfortune of a lost job or the illness of a family member, struggle to pay emergency expenses,” he said.

“We believe we owe them a hand up in times of personal crisis.”

For reservations and sponsorship information, visit www.DelawareVeteransTrustFund.com, email Sherri.Taylor@state.de.us or call 257-3117.

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