DAV, DAVA Sending Kids to Camp Corral
Left, Karla Johnson, Sr. Vice Commander of DAV Chapter 28, Manhattan, Kan., and center, Dolly Mercer, Golden Corral National Events Manager, welcome kids to camp in Junction City, Kan.
Dozens of DAV and Auxiliary members at the Department of Oklahoma Convention spent part of their day behind bars; but it was for a good cause.
Many of the nearly 90 active members of the Auxiliary Juniors were deputized and responded to “warrants.” Their goal, through an activity titled “Jail and Bail,” was to get the children of families with fallen or disabled veterans and servicemembers to attend Camp Corral, a free, week long summer camp sponsored by longtime DAV partner Golden Corral.
In a single day, the Juniors raised more than $900 for Camp Corral. They hope to raise thousands more so kids like them can connect with fun activities and resources to help them cope with the unique challenges they face.
“This is a project they got behind immediately,” said Jamie Parnell, who leads the Juniors of Unit 88 and heads up the program statewide. “Most of our members are the children and grandchildren of veterans. They identify with the unique needs of other kids and want to make a difference.”
The DAV and Auxiliary have joined their Golden Corral partners to send kids to camp. During the national convention, the DAV Auxiliary national organization donated $10,000 to help fund the camps. Support is growing.
After starting with one camp in 2011, the program, for children ages 8 to 15, expanded to nine events in eight states this year with the goal of accommodating more than 1,800 participants. A half-dozen more camps and more kids are on the agenda for 2013.
In North Carolina, members of Chapter 37 volunteered more than 200 hours to support the camps. Even members of the National Order of Trench Rats in the Tar Heel State have stepped up to the plate. The Rats’ Tim Palo donated $500 to support the camps on behalf of the Order.
With the support of the Greer Chamber of Commerce in South Carolina, DAV Chapters 1 and 39 raised an additional $1,200 during a special event. In Brandon, Fla., DAV Chapter 83 chipped in another $500. State-by-state, DAV and Auxiliary members are chipping in.
In Lancaster, Ohio, Chapter 40 and its Auxiliary counterparts collected more than $4,000—enough to send as many as six young people to camp.
“Someone who is disabled is not able to do these things with their kids anymore,” Barry Hopkins, Adjutant for Chapter 40, told the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. “It’s a great program.”
In addition to efforts to support children, Golden Corral’s partnership with DAV continues to make a difference in the lives of those who’ve served. The free meals it serves at Military Appreciation Monday allowed DAV Chapters and Departments to raise more than $1 million last year and have raised more than $6 million during the last 11 years.
Golden Corral has co-sponsored many initiatives with DAV over the years and expanded to include support of the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic this year.
“You’d be hard pressed to find a company more committed to veterans and their families than Golden Corral,” said National Commander Larry Polzin. “They’ve helped immeasurably with our service programs over the years and continue to seek and find ways to serve our community.”
For more information on Camp Corral, visit www.campcorral.org