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Forget Me Nots raise awareness and funds for Pahrump DAV

It was a warm and windy weekend for members of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #15 and its auxiliary as they strove to raise both awareness and funds during their semi-annual Forget-Me-Not Campaign.

Set up at stores around town, the members faced down high temperatures reaching over 90 degrees and strong gusts that went whipping through the valley for much of the day, persevering in their mission to hand out tiny, artificial forget-me-not flowers while collecting donations that will ultimately go toward helping other veterans in the Pahrump community.

When all was said and done, their efforts resulted in a successful endeavor and the members were obviously pleased with the turnout of the first fundraiser the group has been able to hold since the onset of the pandemic in March of last year.

“We were pleasantly surprised at the outcome of the event,” DAV Chapter #15 Commander Terry Janke told the Pahrump Valley Times. “I can’t say how much was raised, but I can say that we raised almost as much as our pre-pandemic campaigns. More important than the donations was our ability to reach out to enlighten the community as to our mission and inform our veteran comrades about the services available to them.”

Janke noted that the weather may have posed a bit of a challenge but the members of the DAV are anything but unfamiliar with meeting difficult situations head-on and they did so with alacrity this past weekend.

“In order to be a member of the Disabled American Veterans, according to our constitution and bylaws, one must have served in time of war and been, ‘wounded, gassed, injured or disabled in the line of duty.’ With that in mind, you can understand how difficult it is to withstand the adverse conditions,” Janke said. “However, each and every member has suffered, and in most cases continues to suffer, the adverse effects of their service to our country and yet continue to volunteer their time. And, we cannot forget the members of DAVA Unit #15 who volunteer their talent and time to everything we do.”

As for this personal experience with the DAV, Janke said there was simply something about the organization that called to him, that made him want to dedicate his time and energy to bolstering its efforts and he was more than happy to be able to take the helm when he was elected as the Pahrump chapter commander.

“I started working with veterans when I worked for the state of Ohio and as part of my job I worked closely with all the veterans service organizations,” Janke detailed. “Though they all do remarkable work, there was just something that drew me to the DAV’s mission of, ‘Empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity.’ When I retired I had two goals. One was to move to Pahrump and the other was to continue working with and for veterans. Thankfully, Chapter 15 gave me the opportunity to do the latter.”

Janke is far from the only veteran who has been inspired to give back to his fellow veterans through the work of the DAV, with Chapter #15 First Junior Vice Commander John Ballard adding his thoughts on the organization as well.

“For me, being a DAV member is being part of a great organization, in helping and working with disabled veterans,” Ballard told the Times. “It means community, being local and being able to help the veterans in Pahrump with their needs, being able to provide a quick response because we are a not a stranger to them.”

Dr. Tom Waters, another members of the local DAV chapter, said he too is awed at the work that the DAV does.

“As a member of the Disabled American Veterans, I am proud of the service they provide to veterans and their families. From the veteran service officers (VSO) who provide assistance with claims to the members who are visible handing out the forget-me-not flowers during the semi-annual fundraiser, they are dedicated volunteers who care about our fellow veterans,” Waters enthused. “These are men and women who served our nation in uniform and now they ask for your support to help them help each other.”

Waters was also quick to point out that the DAV is just one of the veterans service organizations serving the valley and each of them are valuable to the local community. “Please remember that all veteran organizations in Pahrump represent service to veterans, so please support them when you can,” Waters stated, adding as a final note, “And please remember Memorial Day as a day of remembrance!”

Janke was sure to express his gratitude to all those who helped make this May’s Forget-Me-Not Campaign a success, remarking, “The list of thank yous is long, starting with Smith’s, Tractor Supply and Walmart who allowed us the use of their facilities, the Pahrump Valley Times and the rest of the local media for helping us get the word out, the members of DAV Chapter #15 and DAVA Unit #15 who volunteered their time and as always, the people of Pahrump who make our community the most patriotic and veteran friendly community in Nevada.”

Next up for the local DAV will be the group’s annual Veterans Appreciation Barbecue, which is set for Saturday, June 5 at Ian Deutch Memorial Park. Look for additional details on this event in an upcoming edition of the Pahrump Valley Times.

For more information on the DAV, its mission and services or becoming a member visit www.DAV15NV.org or call 775-537-5146.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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