By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — This weekend in Wausau, the Man of Honor Society hosts its 13th annual fundraising event, aiming to raise at least $65,000 to help area veterans and their families.
Many people in the Wausau area are familiar with the annual event, planned this year for June 9-11 at the Eagles Club, 1703 S. Third Avenue. But not everyone is aware of how the group started, or exactly how they serve the men and women who served this country.
The group started in May 2004, when a handful of people hatched the idea to help veterans pay for unexpected costs such as medical bills, wheelchair ramps, or other expenses that can make life difficult.
The idea quickly blossomed, as more people volunteered to help.
Today, the group has grown to about 420 members, including 39 associate members, and has distributed more than $400,000.00 to veterans, active service members and their families for to satisfy a wide range of needs.
“If a vet is hurting, we’ll do our best to help, and if we can’t help, we’ll find out how to get help,” said Jeff Morgan, president of the group. “We’re going to do everything we can.”
Most of the veterans served by the Man of Honor Society are not career military personnel covered by government pensions or health benefits. Even when a veteran has those benefits, Morgan said, getting through all the red tape and paperwork can take time.
In those cases, the organization can step in and help fill in the gaps.
“We want to make sure (the veterans) are getting help before it’s too late,” Morgan said.
This year, the organization will give away a 2017 Jeep Cherokee, a 2017 Harley Softtail-Breakout, Honda 4-wheeler with trailer, John Deere 42” riding lawnmower and cash prizes.
The event also includes live music, 50/50 raffles, games for children, a spectacular fireworks show on Saturday and a chicken dinner for $5 per plate on Sunday until the chicken runs out. The chicken dinner itself has become so popular, the group sold more than 600 pieces of chicken last year alone.
In other words, get there early.
On Saturday, the group will also host the 2017 Honor Ride from 51 Pub & Grill to the Eagles Club. For details on the ride, visit the Man of Honor Facebook page.
Beer and concessions are sold on site. Admission is free.
If you go
- Event open from noon to 11 p.m.
- Food served from noon to 8 p.m.
- Live music featuring Whitehouse Players from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Open from noon to 11 p.m.
- Food served from noon to 8 p.m.
- Kids games from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Honor Ride, registration from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at 51 pub & Grill, ending at the Eagles Club
- Raffles, 50/50 drawings, baskets and more
- Live music featuring Hyde from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Fireworks at dusk provided by Fire in the Sky Fireworks, LLC
- Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Food served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; chicken dinner from 1 p.m. until gone
- Raffles, 50/50 drawings, baskets, and more
- Live music featuring the Polish Connection from noon to 5 p.m.
- Raffle ticket drawing at 6 p.m.
How to get help
Veterans struggling with financial expenses can request a donation by contacting the chair of the distribution committee, Ron Jones, at 715-551-8408 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expenses might include but are not limited to:
- Travel expenses for a family to reach a service member in need
- Financial difficulties due to job loss, sickness or disabilities
- Unexpected home emergencies
- Wheelchair ramps and other unexpected expenses