Gesundheit raises funds for veterans
TINA L. SCOTT
Gesundheit Bar recently made a $3,100 donation to the Merrill Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1638. The proceeds were a part of the bar’s first fundraiser since Francie Hahn and her children, Britney Quade, Jesse Quade, and Trevor Hahn, took over the 1300 East Main Street tavern on September 1, 2020.
“We had a meat raffle,” Francie explained. “My son’s military, and we have military in our family background, and we wanted to do something. So we had a meat raffle and had other organizations donate some things, as well.”
Francie is quick to point out that they couldn’t have raised that much money without donations from lots of great sponsors and the generosity of patrons who participated.
Curt Keene was emcee for the event, and Stephen Sparbel was the DJ. The Eagles Club, Northwoods Veterans Post, Westside Market, Dave’s County Market, Zelich Customs, Brion Hoffman, Fully Promoted, Northwoods Pasture, John & Sue Matson, In & Out Liquor, Steve & Jill Patraw, Park City Realty, Ed & Sharon’s, The Dugout, Lakeside Market, and Alibi Bar all contributed donations, as well.
Francie wanted to be sure the donations went to help veterans in need, so the donation will be put into “our buddy poppy fund, which is our relief fund, which has to be used specifically for our veterans and their families only,” said Michelle Rathke, Jr. Vice Commander, State VFW. That means that the money will go to meet the individual needs of vets, she said. It is based on need, and if an emergency arises, that veteran can just talk with one of the Post officers. Then usually five members of the Executive Committee will discuss the need and the Corps. Master will cut a check to pay to meet that need once the request is approved. This helps maintain the veteran’s privacy, she said.
Vets helping vets
Arnold “Vic” Viljevac, Commander of the VFW, said the donations are truly appreciated. It enables the veterans to help one another.
“It is more about helping everybody else out,” he said. “You know, whether somebody can’t pay their electric bill or somebody needs food or just a tank of gas. If we can help somebody out, we’re going to definitely help them out.”
The VFW is about vets helping vets, he said. Even though your term of service may be over, the brotherhood … “never ends,” he said.
Raising funds for vets
Just like Gesundheit Bar was moved to create a fundraiser for the VFW to help veterans, Rathke said other organizations also help them from time to time.
“Sometimes when we have outside agencies raising money for us, we have more money coming in than when we raise money ourselves,” Rathke said. Frequently, it’s because those agencies are reaching a whole new group of people, rather than the crowd that typically attends fundraisers at the VFW.
Rathke said if there are other groups out there that are looking to do fundraisers for the VFW, they are happy to help in any way they can.