PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - Dedicated to helping veterans in Wayne and Pike counties, volunteers from Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets raised approximately $15,000 that will support servicemen and women with their day to day needs.
August 6 marked the fourth year for the nonprofit’s annual golf tournament and this year, was the greatest yet said Ralph Graf the manager at Tanglewood Lake Estates as well as a consultant for the organization. Graf credited this year’s success to the 116 golfers, as well as more sponsors and prizes. The tournament and being involved is a “wonderful thing to do” for veterans and there are many people offering their support for the cause he said.
While Vets for Vets isn’t a new organization, Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets is however, a relatively new local nonprofit said President and veteran Jerry O’Connor, since it started just this year. Three veterans thought of the concept because those involved “landed on our feet a little better.” By being a local organization to serve veterans, O’Connor said the key component is that individual veterans will receive the help they need, if they qualify for assistance. Whether it be monetary assistance with daily needs or directing a veteran and their family where to go for help, Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets has the connections necessary. O’Connor said help may mean, assisting to pay a mortgage, groceries or tires.
To date, O’Connor figured at least a dozen veterans have received help, including a veteran who’s vehicle was bombed, leaving him to need a special wheelchair. With the assistance of a donor, that veteran now has the wheelchair he needs. Or, to help another veteran who was depressed and self-medicating, volunteers from Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets followed a protocol to see if the veteran was registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs and went from there.
Personally, O’Connor said he understands what the veterans are experiencing because he can relate and so, the volunteers will ensure veterans are receiving the appropriate help they need, before they can personally assist with the individual’s day to day needs. Simply, “we’re not doctors, we’re not dentists, we’re supporters.”
Prior to this tournament, Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets raised over $42,000 that went to Mercy Medical Angels and Wounded Warriors. Just last year, Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets paid for 83 flights for Wounded Warriors.
While paying for tires or groceries can help in the short run, O’Connor said Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets will try to help as much as they can, because they may know where to direct the veteran in need if they cannot help firsthand.
Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets is its own organization, because it focuses on the veteran’s day to day life and, those managing everything “walked in their shoes” said O’Connor.
Graf expressed appreciation to Chris Farley an attorney in the region who has helped Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets establish its bylaws, assisted veterans with their wills and the overall creation of the nonprofit.
Looking to the future, in addition to golf tournaments the Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets has received a small games license and so there will be casino nights, motorcycle runs and more ideas are in the works. O’Connor concluded that, if people need help, they should call Wallenpaupack Vets for Vets because they’re local and are here to help. For more information call 570-575-7766.