VFW Post 8577 in Copperas Cove distributes $21,000 to non-profit organizations

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press

The Olan Forest Smith VFW Post #8577 of Copperas Cove presented checks totaling $21,000 to nine local non-profit organizations during their Bingo game last Thursday evening. 
State law requires a certain percentage of all bingo funds to be donated to charity, but the VFW Post #8577 tries to give away more than what is required, according to Bingo Chairman Dana Watson. 
In 2021, the Copperas Cove VFW gave away $178,000, and so far in 2022, they have given away $51,000. 
“As you can see, we’re on track due to your efforts and your participation, to pass out a lot more money within our community,” Watson told the crowd of bingo players and other community members Thursday evening. 
One of the organizations that received a check Thursday was Project Graduation. They received a check for $500. 
Elizabeth Chase, president of the Class of 2022 Project Graduation, was present to accept the check and was accompanied by Emma MacDonald, who is the Senior Class President, and Rebecca Linnane, who is the Senior Class Principal. 
The $500 donation will help the parents and organizers of this year’s Project Graduation in purchasing gifts for the graduating seniors. In previous years, Project Graduation has given away laptops, televisions, mini fridges, gift cards and more as prizes for the seniors. Project Graduation is a drug-free and alcohol-free lock-in at the high school for graduating seniors to attend following the commencement ceremony. 
“Everything we make for Project Graduation goes back to the senior class,” Chase said. 
Killeen-Cove Chiefs Youth Sports Association received a check for $500
Camp Cowboy received a check for $6,000. 
The Women’s Army Corps Veteran Association received a check for $2,500. 
New Sunset Community Church received a check for $2,000. 
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce received a check for $2,000 for Rabbit Fest. 
The Copperas Cove Police Department received a check for $2,500 for the Chief Molnes Scholarship Fund. 
Deputy Chief Brian Wyers accepted the check and shared that there have been nine students interviewed so far for this scholarship, with the potential of $9,000 in scholarship funds to be distributed this year. 
The 15th Military Intelligence Battalion received a check for $2,500 for its Golf Scramble. 
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Webb said that this will go towards a golf scramble that is held semi-annually as a way to boost morale among junior enlisted soldiers. The golf scramble is $40 per person, and this check from the VFW will cover the fee for 62 E-6 and below soldiers, letting them play golf for free, Webber said. 
Lastly, the City of Copperas Cove Hills of Cove Parks and Recreation Department received a check for $2,500 for the Military Golf Tournament at the Hills of Cove Golf Course. The tournament is held at no cost to the active-duty soldiers who compete for a traveling trophy. They receive a full day of golf playing time, golf course gift bags and a free lunch. 
Post Commander Ron Abrahamson said that this is what the bingo games are meant for. 

“This right here is why we have this room, so we’re able to help the community,” Abrahamson said. “The money we get in here is not VFW money. It’s the community’s money, and that’s how we look at it, but we couldn’t do this without my bingo chairman Dana Watson.”
Every quarter or so, the VFW will award funds to any local non-profit organizations who submit a request. Watson explained that the 501c3 non-profits have to write a letter explaining the amount they’re requesting, and then the VFW membership decides whether to fulfill that request. For the most part, the amount requested is the amount given, but there are times where the amount might be too high, and the VFW will give what they can. 
The Olan Forest Smith VFW Post #8577 holds bingo every Thursday at 7 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and the last two Tuesdays of every month at 7 p.m. 
 

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