For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Emmons
Veterans Count 5th Annual
Fundraising Gala a Big Success
July 21, 2017 — NORTH HAMPTON, NH – The Seacoast Chapter of Veterans Count, a program of Easterseals dedicated to providing financial support for service members and veterans of all eras, held its fifth annual S.O.S. ‘Salute Our Soldiers’ fundraising dinner last month at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kane of North Hampton. The evening’s events included dinner, dancing, the honoring of all veterans in the audience, and a spectacular fireworks display over the ocean. A total of $436,000 was raised on behalf of Veterans Count and the New Hampshire military community.
This year’s Gala was a special tribute to veterans of the Vietnam-era, whom were given special recognition during a pinning ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that conflict. Master of Ceremonies Josh McElveen led the event with a special keynote speech by Major General (Ret.) Kenneth Clark.
Major General Clark is a former member of the NH Air National Guard and served as a pilot for 32 years. He was the first Air Force officer to serve as NH Adjutant General, with the challenge of the continuing deployment of units to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. He worked with other NH Guard Leaders and states to find the best outcomes for those deployed and their families upon return home, explaining at the Gala how the Deployment Cycle Support Program and Veterans Count evolved to become the success they are today.
“The Veterans Count program is not a hand-out; it’s to get these service members beyond their challenges and back on their feet,” said General Clark. “It takes a vision and it takes a village, and I am proud to be a part of this village.”
Members of the New Legacy Swing Band provided musical entertainment for the evening, and Auctioneer Mark Fodero, led the live auction for record-breaking donations. Auction items included Chris Ward limited edition prints signed by President Trump and Vice President Pence, lunch with leading political figures, valuable wine collections and others.
“The S.O.S. Gala is a special night to commemorate, to pay tribute and to honor,” said Greg Whalen, Chairman of the Board for the Seacoast Chapter. “This year marks the tenth anniversary of Veterans Count, the fifth anniversary of the Seacoast Chapter, and the commemoration of the fiftieth year of the Vietnam war. Quoting E.B. Sledge: ‘As the troops used to say, if the country is good enough to live in, it’s good enough to fight for.’ We are privileged to be able to fight for those who have so bravely fought for us.”
Ninety cents of every dollar raised by Veterans Count goes to the military and veterans services program. Of these funds, $60,000 will support a Care Coordinator of the program for a year, which will support more than 300 clients. Approximately $35,000 will be used monthly towards emergency financial assistance such as housing, mental health needs and other critical issues military members and their families are facing.
About Veterans Count
Since 2006, Easterseals Military & Veterans Services provided more than 9,768 individuals with services for challenges including suicide prevention, employment, homelessness, substance abuse treatment, transportation, and mental health issues resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury. Additionally, Veterans Count provides emergency financial assistance for food, home maintenance, utilities, housing, rent, fuel assistance, vehicle repair, child care, gasoline, and medical bills. Learn more at vetscount.org.