Legion Auxiliary donates $1,000 to 2 groups working on behalf of veterans

Photo by Ginny Kropf: The Butts-Clark American Legion Auxiliary presented $1,000 checks to local veterans’ organizations last week at the post in Medina. The checks were presented, from left, to Nancy Traxler from Orleans County Joint Veterans van service and Jenn Thom from Operation Honor by Valerie Wells and Cathy Fox with the American Legion Auxiliary.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 31 October 2022 at 7:50 am

MEDINA – When the Butts-Clark American Legion Post signed up to participate in Medina’s Ale in Autumn Sept. 25, the Auxiliary decided to take advantage of the crowds and hold a fundraiser to benefit local veterans.

Auxiliary members Valerie Wells and Cathy Fox decided to hold a raffle and they began soliciting donations for a “Bucket of Booze.”

Local liquor stores made generous donations, Legion and Auxiliary members started donating, along with other friends.

When the day had ended, the Auxiliary had made more than $2,000.

They chose two local causes which benefit veterans, and on Wednesday morning at the American Legion, $1,000 checks were presented to Nancy Traxler, director of the Orleans County Joint Veterans Council for their Veterans’ Van Service; and to Jenn Thom, co-founder and president of Operation Honor.

“This donation will help when we are ready to replace our next van,” Traxler said. “We have a van with 117,000 on it and it will be the next one we replace.”

Donated money also helps with office supplies, Traxler said.

The Veterans’ Van Service has 26 volunteers, who have clocked 3,054 hours this year to date, driving veterans to medical appointments. They have driven a combined 23,000 this year, Traxler said. Just in September they took 498 trips and drove 595 veterans to Buffalo, Batavia and other approved medical appointments.

She said the Veterans’ Administration pays for insurance, gas and maintenance on the vans, but the Joint Veterans’ Council has to buy the vans.

Donations to the van service can be made by sending a check to the Veterans’ Service Agency, 13996 Rt. 31 West, Albion.

Operation Honor is an organization co-founded by Thom and Sarah Surdel in 2017 to provide an opportunity for veterans to reach out for help with everyday needs.

“It is local and helps with such things as rent, utilities, building a handicap ramp or putting a vehicle on the road when a veteran can’t afford it,” Thom said.

Donations to Operation Honor can be made through their Website, Facebook or by calling Thom at (585) 532-6900.

Operation Honor’s biggest fundraiser of the year is their 5K walk/run, scheduled Nov. 12 at Junior Wilson Club.