Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter #63 (Clermont County) made a donation of $600 to the Golden Corral’s Camp Corral on June 22, 2018. The donation was made by DAV Chapter #63 Treasurer Doug Fike to Eastgate Golden Corral Manager-in-Training Dan Bowman and Frontline Cashier Tina McVicker.
Camp Corral is a one-week summer camp for children of wounded, injured, ill, disabled and fallen heroes. Camp Corral was started in 2011, as a one-camp program, but has expanded to 24 camps in 19 states and serving over 17,000 children. The Ohio Camp Corral is located in Clarksville, Ohio.
“The $600 donation made by our chapter will provide one child with a wonderful experience that fosters positive change by providing opportunities to develop supportive relationships with other military children who share similar experiences,” said Chapter #63’s Senior Advisor Ray Hutchinson. “Children 8 to 15 years old attend the camp, which provides a unique summer camp experience.”
Statistics from 2017 indicate that, nationwide, 3,683 children were able to attend Camp Corral free of charge. Over eighty (80%) percent of Camp Corral campers come from veteran families where financial resources are extremely limited. “Camp Corral is not just a fun week away from home; it’s an opportunity for military children to increase self-confidence and build resilience,” said Senior Advisor Hutchinson.
Of the 3,683 children in 2017, 32% don’t have friends at home who understand what it’s like to be in a military family. Twenty-six (26%) percent of campers came from dual military households and 66% of campers faced unique challenges such as coping with a parent’s injury; moving frequently because of permanent deployments and making friends who understand.
“The DAV Chapter #63 members voted to make this donation at their meeting because we agree with the mission of Camp Corral,” said Chapter Commander Gary Lytle. “The DAV has always had a close relationship with the Golden Corral restaurant chain and we support them in this vital activity for children of injured and disabled veterans.”
“The Golden Corral Restaurant at Eastgate had set a goal of sending five (5) children to Camp Corral from our store,” explained Frontline Cashier McVicker, “and I have been tracking the progress of the donations on a prominently displayed thermometer graph at the front of the restaurant.”
Combined with the DAV Chapter #63 donation, the Eastgate Golden Corral can now send four (4) children to Camp Corral and it needs only $97.25 in donations to send a fifth child to Camp Corral. “I’m positive that with the help of our great customers we will raise that sum and make our goal,” said McVicker. “Every little bit certainly helps!”
Chapter #63 Treasurer Doug Fike explained where the Chapter donation originated. “Our DAV Chapter received a significant donation from the proceeds of the 3rd Annual Paddling with a Cause, which was conducted in 2017,” noted Treasurer Fike. “Our Chapter pledged complete 100% transparency with the distribution of these funds and we even had Ms. Angie Williams, a member of the Paddling for a Cause Program, attend our chapter meetings to review how our funds were being distributed.”
“Every penny that DAV Chapter #63 receives in donations is accounted for and directed to veteran services,” explained Commander Lytle. “At the end of the calendar year our Chapter prepares an Annual Report to highlight some of our many activities and also a complete accounting of all the funds donated to the Chapter and how the funds were spent for veterans’ services. We believe in complete transparency and taking care of our disabled veterans and their families!”
The DAV, the nation’s largest charity for veterans, is a longstanding supporter and signature partner of Camp Corral. “In addition, each year the Golden Corral and the DAV sponsors a Military Appreciation Night,” noted Senior Advisor Hutchinson. “In 2017 more than 315,000 free meals were served nationwide and over $1.4 million in donations were collected to support DAV’s grassroots service initiatives.”
For three (3) days in November, Chapter #63 accepted donations while at the Eastgate Golden Corral. A total of $1,209.81 was collected and the entire amount was forwarded to the DAV Department of Ohio. With the donations from the other 23 Golden Corrals in Ohio, the DAV Department of Ohio purchased a van for the Fisher House at a Ohio VA Medical Clinic.
Golden Corral Manager-in-Training Bowman was certainly appreciative of the donation received from DAV Chapter #63. “This Golden Corral restaurant has always had a good working relationship with the DAV Chapter #63 and we appreciate their efforts in now being able to send another camper, whose parent is a wounded, injured or disabled parent, to Camp Corral this year,” said Bowman.
“If anyone would like to make a donation to the Eastgate Golden Corral to fund part of the remaining $97.25 to send another worthy camper to Camp Corral, DAV Chapter #63 (Clermont County) would certainly appreciate it,” concluded Chapter #63 Adjutant John Plahovinsak.