One of the most solemn holidays that Americans observe each year revolves around Memorial Day.
However, the struggle to assist our veterans is one that goes on long after the podiums have been put away, the flags stored for another year and the words spoken during these solemn ceremonies fade from our conscious.
Groups from throughout the nation continue to raise monies to help our veterans everyday as they struggle to return to their civilian lives after serving their nation. They are joined with members from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion within communities across the nation, but the need continues to grow.
One such group exists right here in Florida, and is known as The Wounded Veterans Relief Fund. Randall Denman, the owner of Freedom Fine Cigars in East Naples, has been involved in five fundraisers for that organization. Recently, Denman helped to organize a golfing charity event to benefit the organization.
Marco residents Jim Lane and Litha Berger joined with Denman and others to help support the event, which raised monies to benefit the fund. Lane himself is a Vietnam veteran.
The Wounded Veterans Relief Fund assists those veterans of post 9-11 conflicts within the State of Florida. All those applying are qualified according to a “needs-based” review of their situations. The fund itself assisted 2,154 veterans and family members in 2017.
The fund was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Lake Park, Florida. Mike Durkee was appointed as the Executive Director of the organization in 2016, after serving as a volunteer and board member for several years. Durkee is an 11-year Army veteran as a helicopter pilot.
Numerous donations of prizes for both silent and live auctions were there for bidding, as well as a 2018 Mercedes, donated by Naples Mercedes and a 2018 21-foot Regal runabout, donated by Walker Marine, and a $750 Gift Card by X-Insurance as hole-in-one prizes.
In addition to those prizes, X-Insurance owner Rick Lindsey also donated an all-expense paid vacation to Utah, summer or winter, with a value of $16,000 for the final hole-in-one prize.
At the end of the day, $41,000 was raised to assist the work being done by the Wounded Veterans Relief Fund, according to Jim Lane.
To donate to the Wounded Veterans Relief Fund or for information on upcoming events, visit www.wvrf.org.