Gig Line: Help needed for canned food drive and events not to miss

Published 12:20 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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The Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 has been extremely active when it comes to supporting our local veterans. In addition to that, the V.F.W. Post 10950 Auxiliary has also supported events, fundraisers, etc. with the V.F.W. toward the good of our veterans across Dare County and beyond.

This month, Auxiliary members have been engaged in effort to qualify for a $500 grant to benefit our veterans if they can reach their goal of acquiring 500 lbs. of canned goods, which I understand will benefit the local Beach Food Pantry located in Kitty Hawk. Please, if you will help, gather from home, or purchase canned goods specifically (please no boxed foods like pancake mixes, puddings, noodles, etc.) as they asked for canned goods to be donated. It is important to check the expiration dates usually stamped on the top or bottom of the cans to ensure recommended usable dates. This mission deadline ends at the end of this month (May), so it is especially important to provide your donation as soon as possible!

There are several ways in which to donate the cans so the Auxiliary will get the credit for your help. You can:

  • Drop the canned goods off in the vestibule at the Holy Redeemer By the Sea Catholic Church located at 301 West Kitty Hawk Road – Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 4 pm and on Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Contact Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County veteran service officer at her office located in Manteo: 109 Exeter St.; office phone 252-475-5604, cell/text: 252-473-7749 or by email: patricia.o’ PLEASE NOTE: for your convenience and to help ensure the Auxiliary’s goal will be met, Patty is willing to meet you to pick up the items you wish to donate.
  • Call/text me on my cell: 252-202-2058 and I will make sure Patty or the church promptly receives your canned food donations.
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Our local V.F.W. Post 10950 and the Auxiliary are both dedicated to the task of helping to meet the needs of our veterans, so your help could make a real difference in them reaching this goal. This year the food pantries across our county and state have seen large numbers of families that could use a little help when it comes to food items, so this undertaking will not only benefit our veterans to qualify for the $500 grant, but also help the Beach Food Pantry. Again, please help if you can and do not worry about taking the canned goods to Kitty Hawk, just let Patty or I know if we can meet you to pick the canned goods up. In advance, thank you for any help you can offer!

We are blessed in this world when we show love and support for good, worthy causes and help our fellow citizens. Speaking of which, Patty’s office is in Manteo but as long as I have known Patty (since she first assumed the position of veteran service officer) she has been willing to go where/whenever an opportunity presents to help our veterans. Her husband Tony is a Vietnam veteran and both Tony and her son Justin (also a veteran) are loyal dedicated members and officers of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council.

Speaking of Patty, please remember to attend the Veterans Town Hall on Monday, May 20, 2024 from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Thomas A. Baum Senior Center, located at 300 Mustian St. in Kill Devil Hills. At this event, VA representatives will answer questions and share available veteran benefits including disability compensation, pension, education and health care. Presented by the Veterans Benefit Administration and the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council, this is the first-time event of this kind and Patty O’Sullivan will be onsite also to meet you and answer any questions you might have.

On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, Patty went to Columbia in Tyrrell County to offer veterans an opportunity to meet with her to discuss matters relative to their military service. When veterans had questions about their service-connected illnesses; if they needed a replacement copy of their DD-214; wanted to investigate filing a V.A. disability claim, Patty was there for them! Being an active veteran advocate, I have collaborated closely with her since she first accepted her position with Dare County, and I have witnessed first-hand her commitment to her job and the veterans she represents. She takes her job and her responsibilities to heart, and I honestly cannot tell you the times I have spoken to veterans and/or their widows post their meeting with Patty who expressed their deep appreciation for the work she had done on their behalf. Is life perfect? Does everything always go as expected? I cannot say that for sure but of the service members I have talked to often, they share their grateful appreciation for her guidance, help and sincere interest in their issues or medical problems.

SAVE THE DATE! When Patty recently went to Columbia, it resulted in her meeting with eight veterans. Since it was such a successful trip, she is planning another trip to Columbia again on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 108 Water Street (same building as the D.M.V. and Tax Office). I will remind you again prior to that date, but please stay with me in Gig Line and any/every local source of veteran related information available to ensure you know what is going on that could greatly benefit you and your family. And how about your friends who are veterans? Might they have questions about a claim? Invite them to meet with Patty!

Because of this column, I hear often from veterans, their wives, and widows especially. I welcome their (your) calls and emails because YOU are important to me too! Through this mode of outreach, I am blessed having spoken with and having met countless men and women of our U.S. military. My husband, a U.S. Army sergeant who served in the Vietnam War during TET, inspired this column way back in 2011. It has been a continuous weekly column since then and it has brought many smiles and tears to me, especially, but to others, so I am told.

How can I adequately express how I feel about the opportunity the good Lord gave me through Gig Line to honor my husband and his “brothers” and “sisters?” His fellow veterans – in my view – should experience endless praise, celebration and respect for their (your) service to this great nation! Not being a veteran myself, I am thrilled to be a part of our veteran community, establishing a relationship with you, communicating with you, telling stories about how Billy instilled in me to feel real patriotism, love of country and an awareness of veterans around me.

Please, please … if you are a veteran, the spouse of a veteran and you have a question about medical conditions (are you experiencing additional medical problems since you were awarded a disability claim? Are you aware of additional diseases or conditions that were added to the VA presumptive list regarding conditions relative to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam and/or other exposures during your service tenure?) FYI: when I started collaborating with veterans as an advocate and volunteer, there were, I believe, 15 conditions at that time, however, in the last few years additional illnesses have been added to the original list. Are you aware of all of them? Is it possible that you are suffering from service-connected illness? If you have even the slightest concern, please search conditions or contact Patty!

Until next week, be healthy, safe and happy! Love others like it’s your last day, forgive past grievances and it and the good Lord will set you free! Pray for our deployed troops and for those they fight to defend … and for that matter, for all our military who are subject to no telling what, when or where. God bless them all and all our veterans who have already “been there, done that!” Please know that even if we never spoke or met that I love you and appreciate you reading Gig Line … my Billy is in Heaven, but I can tell you that it meant so much to him that you read this column. He was proud of me, proud of you and thankful that God put it in my heart to write it. Take care and just know that I will be thinking of you as usual – every day! God bless you too! Stay tuned!