With local soldiers among the thousands of troops overseas, area organizations are showing their support for those who serve.
B&C True Value Home and Garden Center in Grass Valley is hosting a fundraiser for the Friends of Nevada County Military in order to support organizations devoted to helping Nevada County’s soldiers.
“We need the community to help the men and women in uniform,” said Rick Briggs, B&C advertising manager. “So often we take them for granted and this organization has a lot of people who contribute a lot of time and energy. We thought as a business we could do something positive in regards to men and women in uniform.”
B&C also has a “troop tree” set up in the store where people can pick a name and make a donation, which goes to the Friends of Nevada County Military.
“We also have a Christmas cards table so people can say something like ‘Thank you for your service’ and things like that,” Briggs said.
The fundraiser will be held 6-8 p.m. Thursday and 20 percent of all sales during that time will be donated to the organization. The Lyman Gilmore student choir will perform at the event, special prices and refreshments will be offered, and all active military and former military veterans will receive a 10 percent discount. KNCO radio will host a live remote broadcast at the event.
“It should be a fun evening,” Briggs said. “It will pretty much lead into the inside store. The warehouse will not be open, but tools and paint and hardware and all that area will all be open.”
Friends of Nevada County Military have more than 700 volunteers and work with the Marine Corps League, the Vietnam Veterans of America and the American Legion.
The organization has a goal to know of and send a box to all of Nevada County’s troops.
“Our commitment is to send a box every month to every service man and woman from our county who are deployed overseas,” said Fred Buhler, board member of Friends of Nevada County Military.
The boxes contain a variety of items that can sustain heat and help energize the troops, according to Ray Shine, president of Friends of Nevada County Military.
“We put in various kinds of snack food that doesn’t melt,” Shine said. “We send things like toothbrushes and dental floss and things like that. We have (DVDs) of Nevada Union football and basketball, a copy of The Union every month, specially prepared Jelly Bellys, but made with Gatorade instead of water, and letters from people to the troops.”
Friends of Nevada County Military was founded in 2004 as a way to assist by offering support packages, phone cards, and letters to deployed troops, support to service men and women who re-entered the community after completing military service, and supporting troops who have been hospitalized, all by using donated funds from the community.
“It was founded because a group of us were interested in finding ways to support our troops who were serving overseas and also their families,” Buhler said.
Buhler said he appreciates the community donations which have enabled an annual budget of roughly $30,000.
“The group has benefited from wonderful support by businesses such as B&C, and lots of individuals and service clubs like the Rotary clubs of Nevada City and Grass Valley and many others,” Buhler said.
Buhler personally knows the joy of receiving a comforting message in the mail from the time he spent in Iraq as an advisor to the Iraq Central Bank for three months.
“Having spent some time in Iraq myself in 2004, I know mail call was the highlight of the day, particularly mail from family and friends,” Buhler said.
“And when we send a box from the community, it sends such a strong message to our troops. Such a strong message of support and our guys really appreciate that.”
Buhler said he has received grateful feedback from troops who were sent boxes.
“We had many letters from our troops thanking us for the boxes and pointing out the fact that it’s terrific that members of the community that don’t even know them spend an evening packing a box for them,” Buhler said.
The fundraiser will be held to enable the continuing send-off of boxes by the Friends of Nevada County Military.
“We thought it’d be a really good opportunity for customers to give back something,” Briggs said. “Hopefully, the community will respond.”
To volunteer for Friends of Nevada County meetings are the third Tuesday of every month (except December) at 6:30 p.m. at the Grass Valley Veterans Hall at 255 S. Auburn St., Grass Valley. Ray Shine can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (530) 272-2686.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email jterman @theunion.com or call (530) 477-4230.