By Kate Burrows
Proceeds from raffle tickets sold during the holidays at Mill Ridge Village Retirement Community will not only benefit local veterans, but will also make this winter just a little bit warmer for a lucky winner. A fireplace that was used in the facility’s festive Santa suite was raffled off to VFW member Ralph Starr. In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, Starr chose to give away his grand prize to another friend who happily accepted.
The raffle raised more than $400 to benefit the VFW, which supports local veterans and their families. Milton’s VFW post managed to secure the fireplace thanks to a donation from Home Depot, along with the support of its members, in order to raise some extra funds to benefit soldiers and their families during the holidays.
“It is very heartwarming and encouraging to be part of a community that is so involved with giving back,” said Lois Jasmer, program director at Mill Ridge Village.
Although VFW members plan on doing something special for the 75th Ranger Batallion, as the unit officially adopted by the city, its funds regularly benefit many veterans in the community.
“The Rangers will be redeploying this year, so we hope to be able to give them a good sendoff,” said Post Commander Jack Chandler. “Whatever we can do to help them is our way of thanking them for what they do for us.”
Over the holiday season alone, Starr estimates the post spent nearly $5,500 helping veterans catch up on rent or mortgage, pay other bills, all while also donating to a variety of other local charitable organizations. “We’re a very small post here in Milton, but I believe we’re one of the most active in Pierce County,” Starr said. “All the money we collect and donate stays right here in the community.”
Pictured: Mill Ridge Village Executive Director Jennifer Reich pulling the winning raffle ticket