New activities that raise awareness of veterans’ issues will take place in Fort Mill around Veterans Day, and the public is invited.
The Ride for Patriotism, set for Nov. 17, begins at 1 p.m. at the Fort Mill Moose Lodge, 1676 Harris Road. Boots and flags will line the Moose Lodge driveway, reminding people that the event will raise money for injured or disabled veterans.
The event also is a poker run.
“The poker run includes several stops,” said Donna Lentell, event organizer and vice president of the Women’s Club of Fort Mill. “At the stops, each participant will pick a playing card at random. At the end, the participant puts his cards together to make a hand. The best poker hand will win a prize.”
Cyclists and other riders – motorcycles are optional, participants may also use cars or buses – who want to participate can register in advance or the day of the event. A spaghetti dinner is available for riders and others; the cost is $6. Other events planned include a silent auction and a yard sale.
“If we join together as a community, we can better help our servicemen and women when they come home,” said Lentell. “Our organization, one of the oldest women’s clubs in the area, reached out to invite other community groups to sponsor this fundraiser.”
The Women’s Club of Fort Mill is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of South Carolina. The ride is the first event planned by the Women’s Club to help fulfill its mission of support for veterans.
Joining the Women’s Club are the Rolling Thunder Inc., S.C., Chapter 1, an advocacy group that includes many cyclists and veterans who focus on prisoners of war and those missing in action. The Fort Mill and Rock Hill lodges of Loyal Order of the Moose, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars also are sponsors for the event.
Lentell said there are 30 volunteers. Proceeds will be donated to Sew Much Comfort and Carolina Canines for Veterans.
Sew Much Comfort is a national nonprofit organization that provides adaptive clothing to support the needs of wounded service members.
Carolina Canines for Veterans is a national program that provides veterans with disabilities quality trained service dogs. The program works with military prisoners at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston. The prisoners train rescue dogs as service dogs for wounded and injured veterans.
Lentell said organizers hope to have at least 100 participants in the Ride for Patriotism.
“It’s very important that we can do everything we can to help servicemen when they come home,” Lentell said.