VERSAILLES — Mike Williams, owner of The Winery at Versailles, presented a check to Darke County Veterans Services in the amount of $4500 Thursday, to help fund the department’s annual trip for Darke County veterans and their families to Washington D.C.
“This is a magnificent contribution,” Veterans Services Department Head Thomas Pitman said Thursday. “This check represents a big portion of our goal for this year’s trip, and to get that amount from one fundraiser is truly phenomenal.” Veterans services commissioners Jim Kammer and Jack Sloat were also present.
For his part, Williams said he was more than happy to help.
“We do what we can,” Williams said. “I don’t think people appreciate how often businesses are asked to give. There are so many worthy causes.”
When asked how he chooses which of those causes to support, Williams was frank.
“Our events coordinator comes to me and says, ‘We have a need. What can we do?’” Williams said. “I spent a few years in the service myself, so this one was a no-brainer for me.”
Williams served for three years in the U.S. Army, including stints in Spain and Germany. In fact, a tour of numerous wineries in Germany while he was stationed there is what ultimately led Williams to return and start a winery of his own.
Veterans Services’ first Washington D.C. trip took place in 2013. The all-inclusive trip provides bus transportation, lodging, and meals for staffers, veterans and their families. Fifty-four people took part in the 2017 trip, leaving for Washington D.C. September 28 and returning October 1.
Attendees of previous trips, according to Pitman, have toured the Vietnam, World War II, and Korean War memorials, as well as taking a tour of the Capitol Building. Vets have also gone to Arlington Cemetery to place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and visited the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania.
Previous fundraisers held by Veterans Services to benefit the D.C. trip have included a gun raffle, in which a Montgomery County man won a Henry Golden Boy military service tribute rifle; a comedy show featuring Bob and Tom Show regulars Jeff Oskay and Brent Terhune; and a Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction held at Greenville American Legion Post 140 last September. A second gun raffle will be held at this year’s spaghetti dinner September 22.
For more details on these events, or to donate, contact the Darke County Veterans Services Office at 937- 548-5305 or visit www.darkecountyveterans.org.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. To join the conversation and get updates on Facebook, search Advocate 360. For more features online, go to dailyadvocate.com
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