ROCKINGHAM — Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4203 hosted a cornhole tournament and plate sale to benefit one of their own who is battling cancer Saturday. The food and fun began under a clear, blue sky with breezes that sent crispy autumn leaves raining from the trees.
“This isn’t our first cornhole tournament, but it’s just an individual benefit,” said Donny Sweatt. “We’re actually raising money for one of our veterans. He has graciously agreed to donate that to have a World War II memorial placed down here at the memorial park at the post.”
It also wasn’t the first time Iraq War veteran Jeff Tyler has poured funds raised for him into the project. September’s “Rockin’ for Veterans” —a night of live entertainment featuring four local bands — netted nearly $2,000, which Tyler insisted should go toward the memorial.
“We have one WWII veteran who still comes down here, and for years, he’s been talking about a memorial for WWII veterans,” Tyler said. “That was my inspiration, that I wanted to do something for them. We have a WWII memorial, but the goal is maybe to try and get something with the 42 people from Richmond County who died. We’re not quite sure, we’re trying to get prices up.”
Sweatt said the WWII memorial in the garden across the street from the post, featuring a battlefield cross, is “generic,” and that one personalized with the names of the 42 would add meaning to the existing memorial.
“All of the fire departments and law enforcement and car dealerships purchased plates,” he said. “We had a good turnout.”
Post auxiliary president Robin Roberts said Tyler would not accept the proceeds for himself.
“He didn’t want us to do it,” she explained. “The only way he would let us do it is if we donated it.”
“I’m the senior vice commander of the VFW, and I usually am on the other end of trying to help people,” Tyler said. “I tried to prevent them from doing this, but they did it anyway. They’re just a lot of good people.”
Roberts said the amount the VFW post put into both fundraisers was less than $150.
“Everything we did Saturday was donated,” she said. “Kevin Sheppard of Perdue donated the chicken, Captain D’s donated the slaw, The Ol’ Skool Tribe motorcycle club donated desserts and baked beans, Kenny Smith with Extreme Filters donated the paper products, Hudson Brothers Deli donated tea, lemonade and more paper products. Various members of the auxiliary made desserts. We sold over 100 plates before noon, but we raised $1,570 dollars. We’ve got a total of $3,900 from both events.”
Roberts said the support from the community was greatly appreciated.
“To only have spent $145 and have all the rest donated, that was awesome,” she said.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.