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Friends of Delaware Veterans to Host Annual Fundraiser

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Supporting veterans in Delaware can be as easy as eating dinner at Dover Downs.

The Delaware Veterans Trust Fund is hosting its fourth annual black tie-optional dinner on Saturday, Nov. 4. The event will benefit veterans in need.

Registration for the event is open until Oct. 27. Plates cost $100 per person, and 100 percent of what people give stays in the state and benefits Delaware veterans, says Dave Skocik, president of Friends of Delaware Veterans, the trust fund’s fundraising arm. The event will feature musical entertainment and a distinguished guest speaker. Donations are tax-deductible.

Last year, the event raised about $16,000. Skocik hopes to raise as much as $20,000 this year.

By paying veterans’ bills, the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund has prevented the shutdowns of utilities and repossessions of vehicles. It has also supplied funding for emergency vehicle repairs and car rentals. Recipients, who are prescreened, must be honorably discharged Delaware veterans and their families in verified financial emergency. Bill payments are made directly to billing companies. It is one-time aid, Skocik says.

The fund, created in 2013, is run by a board of community volunteers. Established by Skocik and Friends’ vice president Paul Davis, both veterans, the trust fund is administered by the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs. The group gives out as much as $10,000 a month, says Skocik.

Skocik served in Vietnam, spending 18 months there, and was deployed to a few other places during his military career. Veterans today, he says, have a different experience.

“For the last dozen years, many of them have been going on multiple tours for three months at a time, six months at a time—maybe three, four, five times. They have all of that stress and they come back here, they’re different,” he says.

And, although it is illegal to fire someone for their National Guard or Army Reserve service, Skocik says that, sometimes, jobs get eliminated. He recounted one veteran who, after a car accident, lost his job and was nearly expelled from school.

“He said, ‘This is the first time I’ve been face down in the mud,’” says Skocik. “When, really, he was in the mud many times when he worked as a Marine. We are pulling people out of the fire.”

Payment for the event can be mailed to: Delaware Veterans Trust Fund, 802 Silver Lake Blvd., Suite 100, Dover, DE 19904. Memo line should include “Trust Fund Dinner.” Tickets can be retrieved at the will call table at the event.

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