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VET FEST PROVIDES FUN FOR A GOOD CAUSE

A carnival-like veterans' festival provides fun for all

VFW Post 9143 in Cumming, Ga., put on its first annual Vet Fest, an all-day event featuring live music from five bands, a car show, a children’s play area and a military equipment display. The festival was complete with funnel cake and t-shirt sales.

Post members worked with local businesses and former Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Jerry Glanville to put on the event. Automation Direct, Benjamin Brady Charitable Foundation and North Ridge Restoration, LLC sponsored the event. CiCi’s Pizza and Buckhead Pizza had booths set-up, and the Post even partnered with area Starbucks coffee shops to introduce a unique blend of coffee, “Brave and Bold." The coffee was available at all area Starbucks locations, and bags were also available for purchase at the festival.

The idea for the event came after Post 9143 was burglarized. It appears unlikely the Post’s stolen items will be recovered. In order to keep providing its normal services to veterans, the Post had to find a way to raise money. Joe LaBranche, Post Senior Vice Commander, explained, “We needed to replace the computers taken and repair the damage to the Post. Although we were out of money, there were still people coming to us for assistance.” Vet Fest seemed like a perfect way to get the Post back on track.

More than just a fundraiser, the Post put on the event so the community could show their American pride and support for troops and veterans. “It is important to the veterans to be a part of this community, and they want the community to participate too,” said Carol LaBranche, Post 9143 Ladies Auxiliary President.

 The Post also has a new program in the works called Vet-to-Vet, but funding is needed to get it underway. Joe said the program will educate and help veterans with VA benefits, provide assistance to veterans who suffer from PTSD and their family members, and offer Skype to those with loved ones serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Plans for the next Vet Fest are already in place with it scheduled for next summer. Members of the Post hope to build on their previous success and make the next one even better, enabling them to further help their fellow veterans.

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