The American Legion Department of Ohio Charities has partnered with Fallen 15 to honor Ohio’s women veterans with the inaugural Veteran Women’s 5K. The race will be held on March 28th in Dublin, OH.
“The American Legion, our members, and our charity is proud to make this $3,000 contribution to Fallen 15 in support for an event that brings much needed attention to Ohio’s veteran women veteran,” said Suzette Price, Service Director for the American Legion Department of Ohio.
The American Legion and its charity understand the importance of supporting events like the Women Veterans 5K.
“There are over 70,000 women veterans in Ohio who have played, or continue to play, an important role in the mission of the United States military. Events like this allow all citizens in Ohio to celebrate the service and sacrifices that they have made on behalf of our country,” said Ms. Price.
The American Legion is a charter member of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC), a group that been helpful in providing much needed support for charities like the American Legion Department of Ohio Charities. This support, in turn, allows the American Legion to assist and promote events like the Women Veterans 5K and groups like Fallen 15.
One such program is the OVFCC’s charitable video raffle program.
“The charitable video raffle program has been an important part of our efforts to keep post doors open,” Ms. Price said. “Ohio veterans need a place to go and socialize with other veterans, including women veterans”.
Please come out and support the Veteran Women’s 5K run.
Program surpasses $13 million contributed to Ohio charities
Columbus, Ohio (March 26, 2015) – Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr. of Middletown, Ohio died in Iraq June 6, 2011 as a result of a rocket attack, leaving behind his wife Samantha and two children. After Michael’s death, Samantha moved from Ft. Riley, Kansas back to Butler County, Ohio. “Michael’s death was extremely hard on me and our children. I still feel his presence every day,” says Samantha.
In the years following Michael’s death, Samantha was able to support her family financially. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances this past year, Samantha fell behind on her mortgage and needed some temporary help.
Thankfully, Samantha became acquainted with Carolyn Coley, wife of Ohio Senator Bill Coley as they worked together in planning an upcoming highway dedication in her late husband’s name. A portion of Tylersville Road in both Butler and Warren Counties will be named the “Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr. Memorial Highway” at a dedication on April 26th.
During the highway dedication planning process, Mrs. Coley became aware of Samantha’s recent financial difficulty and learned that she was in jeopardy of losing her home. Mrs. Coley reached out to the VFW of Ohio Charities to see if it could help Samantha.
VFW of Ohio Charities subsequently donated over $4,600 to the Cook family to help Samantha catch up on her mortgage payments. “We were honored to be a part of keeping Spc. Cook’s family in their home,” said Bill Seagraves, Director of VFW of Ohio Charities. “This is the type of charity work we do every day, so it fit right within our mission to help veterans and their families.”
Samantha was grateful for the VFW’s support, saying “Because of the VFW, I have been able to get back on track financially. My mortgage is due on the first of each month and I have a long-term financial plan in place. I just needed a little help to get through an unanticipated circumstance and the VFW was there for me. I want to thank Mrs. Coley and the VFW for working together to make this happen.”
The donation was made possible because of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition’s (OVFCC) charitable video raffle program, which has now generated over $13 million for Ohio charitable causes. Each year, thousands of charitable dollars generated by the raffle program support veterans and their families who are struggling to pay expenses like housing and utility bills.
By law, fifty percent of video raffle revenue supports posts and lodges and fifty percent supports local 501c3 charities in communities across Ohio, who in turn assist hundreds of veterans and their families who are in need.
“We want all veterans and their family members, especially widows and children to know that we are ready and willing to help during a time of crisis,” said Seagraves. “The OVFCC’s raffle program has allowed us to help provide millions of dollars in assistance to those in need.”
While the charitable video raffle program continues to garner praise and support from Ohio’s veteran and fraternal groups and the charities they support, they lack certainty in their ability to continue supporting families like Samantha’s in the future. The program was ordered by the Attorney General to be shut down in December 2013, but the OVFCC immediately filed a lawsuit and was allowed to remain in operation under a court restraining order until the issue is decided by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in a trial scheduled to take place later this fall.
AMVETS Department of Ohio officers Merle Pratt & Jim Graham present Rep. Rick Perales with “Legislator of the Year” Award
The AMVETS Department of Ohio presented its “Legislator of the Year Award” to Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) on Saturday at its annual mid-winter conference. Representative Perales retired from the United States Air Force in 1997, his military career culminating as Commander of the 788th Civil Engineer Squadron at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
In 2013, Representative Perales sponsored House Bill 325 which would have clarified Ohio law with regard to video forms of charitable gaming. While the bill expired in committee, AMVETS Department of Ohio wanted to recognize Representative Perales for his commitment to helping veterans’ organizations.
“AMVETS appreciates Representative Perales’ dedication to giving our posts the ability to raise funds to support their operating costs and support local charities in their communities,” said Merle Pratt, AMVETS State Legislative Chairman and Past Department Commander and board member of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC). “AMVETS’ goal is to improve the quality of life for veterans, their families, and the communities where they live. Rick Perales tried to help us with this mission, and we are grateful.”
On the heels of the announcement that the OVFCC has helped raise over $12 million for local and national charities and organizations, the Columbus Dispatch tells the story about how the system is still working:
More than a year after state officials temporarily pulled the plug on video raffle machines at veterans posts and fraternal lodges, the wheels are still spinning, and money is flowing.
The Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition said yesterday that video raffles have generated $12 million for a variety of Ohio charities in the past three years. The money has benefited vets groups and other charities, such as Buckeye Boys State, Special Olympics and the Wright-Patterson Airmen & Family Readiness Center, which received $100,000 for emergency financial help, employment and counseling for active-duty military families.
Hundreds of local charities throughout Ohio benefit from support
Columbus, Ohio (January 27, 2015) – The Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) announced this week that its video raffle program has now raised over $12 million for Ohio charities.
The funds directly benefit veterans’ posts, fraternal lodges and hundreds of local 501(c)(3) charities; fifty percent of the revenue supports the posts and lodges and fifty percent supports local 501(c)(3) charities in communities across Ohio, such as the Wright Patterson Airmen & Family Readiness Center, Buckeye Boys State, Special Olympics and hundreds of individual Ohio veterans in dire need of financial assistance for housing and supplies such as sleeping bags and boots.
As an example, the OVFCC raffle funds have helped provide well over $100,000 to the Wright Patterson Airmen & Family Readiness Center, which helps active duty families in times of need with financial crisis assistance, counseling and employment services.
“Thanks to the charitable video raffle program we are able to provide much needed assistance to members of all branches of the military active at WPAFB,” said Dan Faulkner, VFW Department of Ohio, Hospital and Homeless Veterans Chairman. “These vital funds help put food on the tables, pay funeral travel expenses, and make rent payments during financial crisis for men and women who are fighting to defend our freedom. If not for the charitable funding provided by the OVFCC organizations, I don’t know where these families could get the assistance they need. This is truly essential support.”
Each year, thousands of charitable dollars support veterans who are struggling to pay for housing and utility bills. VFW of Ohio Charities partners with organizations like National Church Residences’ Commons at Livingston to keep veterans in housing.
“The VFW organization and its members have been a valued supporter of our Commons at Livingston permanent supportive housing community for disabled and homeless veterans through cash donations, in-kind gifts, and volunteer activities,” said Jeffrey S. Wolf, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy & Communications for National Church Residences. “National Church Residences looks forward to serving more disabled and homeless veterans with the VFW’s assistance when the Commons at Garden Lake in Toledo opens the summer of 2015. In addition, the VFW has been a generous supporter of our Hospice program serving low-income clients and their families. National Church Residences is grateful for its partnership with the VFW and our efforts to transforming the lives of those we serve.”
A substantial portion of the funds raised through the OVFCC charitable video raffle helps pay the salaries of Veterans Affairs State Service Officers and Claims Benefits Representatives who are responsible for bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars each year in federal claims for Ohio veterans in need and their family members.
“Our claims benefit program is our most important initiative,” said Wayne Hutchison, the VFW State Service Officer. “The VFW Department of Ohio funds salaries for ten claims benefit representatives who are responsible for obtaining and maintaining federal funding for veterans and their dependents. This funding is vital to veterans and their families, and it is all returned directly back into Ohio’s economy. Charitable gaming plays a significant role in the VFW’s ability to both fund the program as well as improve the quality of life for veterans and dependents.”
The OVFCC is 501(c)(6) organization established in 2003 to achieve consensus and develop policy on various issues affecting veterans and fraternal organizations in the State of Ohio. Member organizations have input regarding charitable gaming as well as legislation, rules and regulations that impact veterans and fraternal organizations. The OVFCC is the voice of more than 2.1 million members and their families who are active in more than 1,700 posts and clubs throughout Ohio.
OVFCC President Bill Seagraves can be reached for further comment at (614) 222-1611
For those that don’t know, Central Ohio Stand Down is a local chapter of a national charity project geared toward fighting for homeless vets across the country. The charity puts on events around the country with the focus on providing homeless veterans – men and women alike – with necessary resources and supplies. Included are simple necessities like food, clothing and haircuts, and go as far as providing more complex services like job search information, health screenings and even legal aid.
This year’s event, held on Tuesday, October 21st had a new and very appropriate location – Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers baseball team. Appropriate because in a building that emphasizes teamwork for victory, volunteers were able to come together to give “a hand up, not a hand out” to some of their own teammates most in need.
Among the many volunteers at the event were several VFW lodges, and the VFW of Ohio Charities, one of the major beneficiaries of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition. The OVFCC is proud to work with organizations that support noble causes, and Central Ohio Stand Down is most certainly that.
The Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition (OVFCC) is never surprised to hear about veteran and fraternal organizations giving back to their communities. We’ve seen it many times. And many more.And more still. The generosity of veterans and fraternal groups to not only their members, but also their communities is truly something to behold, especially in our current age of economic uncertainty.
That’s why it shouldn’t come as a shock that the Warren, Ohio VFW Post #1090 has continued this tradition of compassion by donating money to fund a funeral and military honors for a recently deceased veteran.
Russell Benson died suddenly in June, and after calls to different national organizations fell upon deaf ears, Benson’s nephew, himself a Staff Sergent in the US Army, called the VFW Post. And the VFW took up arms for one of their own.
“‘[Benson] needed help,’ said Rolla Airwyke, VFW Post 1090’s Quartermaster. A former Marine and veteran of the Vietnam war himself, Airwyke uses his position to distribute charity funds to veterans and their families in times of need…
Aiurwyke invited Benson to meet him at the post, 611 High St., and after talking with the soldier wrote him a check from the charity fund to cover half of the bill from the funeral home…”
Post 1090 is also one of many state-wide posts suffering due to recent judicial and legislative rulings with regards to charitable gaming, and the post itself, a town mainstay for 90 years, is running out of time and money, much of which was brought in by electronic charitable raffle machines that the State’s Attorney General has declared illegal.
Stories like the one above are good, and speak to just how great the support of veterans and fraternal organizations can really be. But the postscript – the AG’s decision, and a VFW Post clinging to financial life – is really the issue that should be addressed. Else those like Staff Sergeant Benson might still be on the phone trying to find a way to bury his uncle.