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How you can support local veterans

The American Legion Post #22 is readying itself for an upcoming event meant to honor the area’s many veterans during the national observance of Military Appreciation Month and one of its members, Bruce Schoenberger, is now putting out a call to all valley residents to help make the event free-of-charge for former military members.

Schoenberger and the rest of the American Legion crew, in partnership with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #10054, have been planning the “Support Our Veterans Rib Extravaganza” for some time but the idea to attempt to provide the feast at no cost to veterans only recently came about. Following an article about the event published in the Times on May 12, Schoenberger said he was asked by a few individuals why the event would not be free to the guests of honor, those who have served in the armed forces.

“So I have to ask myself why, or attempt to keep the prices down. Having volunteers and the use of the facility may not be enough,” Schoenberger stated. “We truly need to honor our heroes on occasions other than Veterans Day.

“Therefore, I challenge our community to consider participating in making this event free to veterans!” he continued. “Anyone wishing to make this dream come true, please contact me, Bruce, at showinusa@yahoo.com with the subject line ‘Vets’ and including your name, address and pledge amount. Our financial goal for this event would be approximately $2,000.”

Schoenberger also noted that the Rib Extravaganza will be the first of what he hopes will become many more future “month of May celebrations”. Next year, he is aiming to attract enough community participation to make the celebration of Military Appreciation Month a full month-long observance with multiple events throughout May, 2023.

“There are an estimated 6,000 vets living in Pahrump,” Schoenberger said. “They need support from the general public, community leaders and businesses. And veteran participation is need to support the local veterans’ organizations that have low membership.”

The American Legion and VFW post are just two of the veteran-oriented organizations in the valley and Schoenberger was quick to emphasize that though they have their own specific activities, the two often work seamlessly to support each other’s efforts. “The relationship between our American Legion and our VFW post spans more than 20 years, with both sharing the same location and we are always there to support the veterans in various ways,” he remarked.

He said each group also has a variety of contingents that operate under the main organization. For example, the VFW has the VFW Riders and the American Legion has the Sons of the American Legion. Both also maintain auxiliary units. The main goal, he said, is to bring as much awareness as possible to the organizations and recruit membership to ensure a strong future for the groups. “It is our duty to support the veterans in any way we can. We must make this happen for the vets,” he stated.

The Rib Extravaganza is, at its heart, an event geared toward showing appreciation for the sacrifices and bravery of those who have served, but it also acts as a means of allowing everyday civilians to meet local heroes and express their gratitude in person.

“Vietnam-era veterans were never initially welcomed home,” Schoenberger said. “Please reach out and give these heroes a handshake, a hug, a smile. Many of our vets are too proud to ask for help, or even get involved. We must change this any way we can, through these organizations and through individual involvement. Sadly, membership in these organizations for the younger veterans has suffered. We need to do a better job of getting them involved by making the connection with other veterans from other times of service.”

Checks to support making the Rib Extravaganza free for veterans can be made payable to American Legion Post #22 with “Ribs for Vets” in the memo line. All pledges can be made good at any time by dropping off the donation at the VFW/American Legion post, 4651 Homestead Road.

The Rib Extravaganza is set for Saturday, May 21 beginning at 11 a.m. at the post and is open to the entire community.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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