Legion Holds Fundraiser BallJun 01, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Elise Spleiss
Attendees saluting as Colors are presented. Center: Incoming 2nd Vice Commander Tim Tribble, with granddaughter Abby; Commander Patricia Lovisone, American Legion, Folsom Post 362; VFW officer Geno Guevara, Chaplain, with his date, Chelsea Clement; Robert Phillips, Quartermaster and other officers from Folsom American Legion Post 362. Photo courtesy of Bruce Robertson Photography
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - For decades the American Legion and its counterpart, the American Legion Auxiliary have been known for their tireless work helping veterans at home and overseas in a myriad of different ways.
Carrying on this legacy, May 20, 2023 was a special evening of fun and relaxation but with a most important purpose: to raise funds for the American Legion’s program signature program, Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW). Attendees came from all over Northern California from all levels of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary. The event took place at the Doubletree Hotel in Sacramento.
Sylvia Thweatt, Commander of Post 637, greeted attendees, calling for the opening ceremony with Posting of Colors by the Folsom Marine Corp, singing of the National Anthem, and Chaplain Terry Ledford giving the invocation.
As is tradition with the armed forces, the program continued with eight toasts, each followed by a response to honor our government, active armed forces, military families, others who serve including non-military first responders, and our fallen who have died in defense of freedom.
The meaning/explanation of the empty POW/MIA table set for one, set next to the stage, was read by Martha Romano, followed by the final toast made with water, to represent those who have not come home, POW’s and MIA’s. Chuck Jamison, bagpiper concluded the ceremony with the playing of Danny Boy.
Speaking to the purpose of the Military Ball, Douglas Chace, OCW Program Director, reported on the 69 grants finalized in 2022 which benefited 5,500 veterans, He said, “Last week I submitted our 51st grant request for 2023, providing a grant (an elliptical bike) to our chaplain, Terry Ledford, (U.S. Army Retired). Chace reported they have given out a dozen of the elliptical bikes to veterans. It is reported that exercise equipment is the most requested item from OCW.
Ledford gave his testimony of how the stresses of the military had affected him, saying, “Being in the military can be stressful on the body.” Even though he would have liked to make a career in the service he was forced to retire early in 2015 after 26 years in the military. He now has braces on both his feet, making it hard to walk. Recently, he joined the American Legion which gave him direction as he was able to help other veterans. He then reached out to OCW, saying he could not walk well and could not run. He was given a grant and received his elliptical bike in the beginning of May.
Upon receipt of his bike and working with it he felt blessed. He said he felt freedom for the first time in a long time with his machine, built to imitate running. He said, “First the American Legion gave me purpose and OCW is now helping me to rehabilitate (strengthening his muscles for a longer life).” He thanked the Legion for all they have done and continue to do for him, and Douglas Chace for being there to give him hope again.
Tickets for the ball included a full buffet, live music and dancing, raffle prizes, silent auction, and full bar. The evening ended with dancing until the lights went down and music ended. Attendees gained a new appreciation of our wounded, ill, and injured veterans and those who care for them.
For more information on Operation Comfort Warriors visit www.legion.org/operationcomfort
While the care at many military hospitals and warrior transition units is extraordinary, The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program was created to provide “nonessentials” – items that help wounded warriors recover but don’t usually show up as a budget line on government, such as the elliptical bikes, Xboxes, and home exercise equipment, the most requested item.