Veterans groups benefit from golf tourney

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BENNINGTON — Five local organizations that serve Vermont veterans have received a boost from funds raised by a local golf tournament.

The $23,000 in funds from the Vermont Veterans Golf Tournament were presented during a ceremony Friday at the Vermont Veterans' Home in Bennington.

A volunteer committee organizes the tournament and banquet, now in its sixth year, according to Tom Jackson, chairman for the tournament committee.

"We do all of this for our veterans," Jackson said.

The organizations that benefited are: The Veteran's Outreach and Family Resource Center, the Vermont Veterans' Home, Bennington County Meals on Wheels, the Dodge House in Rutland, the Bennington County Habitat for Humanity, and Purple Hearts Reunited.

Gov. Phil Scott served as the keynote speaker at the Sept. 6 banquet, which was held at the Manchester Country Club.

Since the first tournament in 2012, the committee has raised more than $200,000. One hundred percent of sponsor donations go to organizations serving Vermont Veterans.

Veterans' Home CEO Melissa Jackson, Tom Jackson's wife, said funds last year allowed the facility to buy a "solo step" overhead track and harness system for its rehabilitation center. One patient that used the solo-step hadn't walked on his own in five years and was able to stand eye level with someone else, which she described as a moving experience.

The county meals on wheels program serves about 250 meals per day; about half of those people are veterans, said Ilsa Svoboda, executive director. Funds awarded last year went towards purchasing a new walk-in freezer.

The local habitat group will put their share into an escrow account. Jackson said that money will eventually help a veteran who wants to build and purchase a home.

Purple Hearts Reunited is a Georgia, Vt.-based nonprofit whose mission is to return its titular military medals to the rightful owners or families, according to its website. The medal is awarded to those wounded or killed in action.

For more information, visit the Vermont Veterans Golf Tournament website: vtww.org.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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