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Helping Heroes Fundraiser Planned To Assist Area Veterans

File Photo - Helping Heroes founder Jeremy Harrison

GLEN DALE — Helping Heroes is embracing the fun of college football and a good old-fashioned tailgate party to bolster its efforts in assisting military veterans in need.

The organization will host a tailgate party fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 23 at Ruttenbucks Bar & Grill in Glen Dale. The party is scheduled to begin two hours before the West Virginia University football team’s game against TCU. That kickoff time has not yet been announced.

Helping Heroes co-founder Jeremy Harrison said Ruttenbucks is a “perfect” spot to hold the event.

“What’s neat about Ruttenbucks is it has a big, grassy area out back,” he said. “So we’re able to do most of the event outside. We use the inside, too, for our prize wheel and our raffle baskets, and it gives people the option to sit inside.”

The Main Street Bank tailgate trailer will be there with a television so patrons can watch the WVU game outside. The game will be broadcast on the restaurants TVs as well.

For $25 per person, attendees will receive dinner — hot dogs, hamburgers and the usual side dishes, plus chili, vegetable soup and desserts — and three drink tickets. The party will include raffles, a prize wheel and a cornhole tournament where the winners get to keep the cornhole boards.

“It’s a great vibe,” Harrison said. “We have a fire outside, we’re supposed to have good weather this weekend, we’ve had great turnouts so far and we hope to have another one here.”

The proceeds from the event go toward an organization that has made it its mission to help veterans who are homeless or close to losing their homes. Harrison used to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a psychotherapist working with combat veterans. Those vets were having financial troubles after coming back from combat due to their illnesses or injuries.

“I had veterans coming in who were sleeping on friends’ couches, who were homeless, veterans who were committing suicide because they couldn’t take care of their families anymore,” he said.

The organization works with three separate grant programs. One is for vets who are homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless, that they can get financial assistance to pay rent and utilities. Another helps veterans with transitional housing. The organization has five apartments that veterans can use rent-free, while working with a case manager to receive needed services. A third is an emergency shelter where veterans can come to the shelter in the evening and leave in the morning.

“It was very heartbreaking and continues to be, to have veterans come in to see us who have given so much for their country and they aren’t able to find affordable housing or support themselves for whatever reason,” Harrison said. “I know that we’re doing our part to take care of our veterans in the Northern Panhandle.”

For more information on the tailgate or the Helping Heroes organization itself, call 304-232-0114.

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