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PHOTOS: USO Show brings in thousands for vets’ food bank

The Nevada Silver Tappers took to the stage last Saturday night for a fabulous performance with a very special purpose at its heart, raising money to support the local Veterans Food Bank, and when all was said and done, thousands of dollars had been collected to help give back to those who have served.

Billed as the USO Show, the event took place Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Saddle West Showroom, which was completely packed with patrons all eagerly anticipating the coming production. Every available ticket had been sold long before showtime, so the ladies of the Nevada Silver Tappers were greeted by a huge and highly-enthusiastic audience.

Choreographed by Kim Cornell-Lyle with the assistance of Ione DeSantis, the USO Show was a journey of global proportions, with dance routines themed to an array of countries and regions around the world. Patrons visited Germany, Italy, Latin America and more as the ladies seamlessly glided on and off stage, creating a performance that had Nevada Silver Tappers founder B.J. Hetrick-Irwin beaming with pride.

Before the final dance of the evening, one dedicated to honoring the branches of the U.S. Military, VFW Auxiliary President Bonnie Darrell was asked to step forward and give the audience an overview of the true purpose behind the USO Show.

Darrell explained that the Veterans Food Bank at the VFW Post #10054 was the brainchild of Viola “Vi” Morrisey, who led the drive to establish the pantry 11 years ago. “Vi, as she is affectionately known, has always been dialed into the needs of the Pahrump community. When the military began to downsize, many veterans came home without jobs to go to and they were going to the food banks in town to get what they could. But Vi felt that it wasn’t enough. She felt passionately that the veterans deserved more,” Darrell said.

Over the last 11 years, the food bank has grown and expanded thanks to the generosity of the community. Home Depot donated and installed shelves for the building, PTown Air installed an air conditioner and the pantry now has both a refrigerator and freezer, giving veterans a wider variety of options than just nonperishables when visiting the food bank. Recent partnerships with grocery stores and farms have also boosted the operation.

“The food bank is for veterans and their families with minor children in the Pahrump community. It’s open every week on Wednesday from 10 until noon and veterans are eligible to receive one bag of food per week with an approximate cost of $20 per bag,” Darrell detailed. “The bags contain bread, eggs, peanut butter, canned meat and various pasta products. Veterans are invited to select their own fruit, vegetables, dairy and bakery items depending on what is available seasonally.”

Darrell then made a surprise presentation to Morrisey, displaying a brand new sign for the VFW Veterans Food ank proclaiming that it is, “Proudly Serving Vi’s Vets”.

Darrell also introduced four veterans who were set to assist with the “pass the boot” initiative to bring in even more cash for the cause. VFW Post #10054 Commander Steven Kennard was joined by former post commander Marty Aguiar, Navy veteran Fred Wilcox and Army veteran Dale Wysocki, all of whom have been volunteers at the VFW Veterans Food Bank, to pass around stockings decorated as military boots and attendees were able to make cash donations on the spot.

The final tally on exactly how much was raised is not yet available but Hetrick-Irwin told the Pahrump Valley Times that the amount is definitely north of $6,000. She and her Silver Tappers plan to make a check presentation to the VFW Veterans Food Bank next week and all of the money will then be used to purchase products and items to support the pantry’s services.

For more information on the Silver Tappers contact slvtpr@gmail.com or call 775-727-7011.

For more on the VFW Veterans Food Bank call 775-727-6072.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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