VOHC continues to get word out
The majority of Harrison County’s veterans ‘ estimated at about 3,000 ‘ belong to a group they may have never heard of: Veterans of Harrison County Inc.
There are no membership dues or requirements, except members must have served in the military.
‘Every veteran of Harrison County is a member,’ Richard (Dick) Goodwin, the group’s president, said. ‘There are no membership fees.’
Formed in March 2015, the VOHC was started to promote and raise the interest of veterans in the county. The 501(c)(3) organization’s mission is ‘to assist in the everyday needs of qualified veterans of Harrison County, Indiana, to promote the development of appropriate forums which serve the needs of veterans, provide educational opportunities to the community and generally augment the status of veterans in the community.’
The group also serves as a liaison between veterans and the Harrison County Veterans Service Office and provides emergency assistance and/or resources to veterans and their families.
Desley Snyder, the county’s veterans service officer and a veteran, has about 900 veterans registered with her office.
The VOHC hopes those numbers increase.
‘We knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight,’ Charles Eckart, VOHC vice president, said at the group’s annual meeting March 8. ‘We’re in it for the long haul.’
Besides telling the two dozen or so attendees at the meeting about the group, Goodwin explained that board members, who receive no compensation, pay $100 annually to serve a three-year term.
The nine inaugural board members are Goodwin, Eckart, secretary Janet Seelye, treasurer Kevin McDaniels, Shannon Age, Terry
Diehl, Gary Gilley, Carl Smith and Mark Strange. Snyder serves as the group’s chief operating officer.
Age and Diehl were appointed last year to serve one year to provide staggering terms to the board, which, according to its bylaws, shall have at least nine board members.
In response to Goodwin asking for volunteers to serve a three-year term on the board, Carrie Bridgewater, David Brown, Chris Ethridge and Ewing von Schmittou expressed interest.
Goodwin said the organization relies on donations from businesses and churches, as well as contributions from individuals.
‘We’re not saying everybody needs to donate … but those who served this country need to be served and have their needs taken care of,’ Goodwin said.
Activities include welcoming the Run for the Wall riders in May when they stop for the night in Corydon, a roll call dinner, which is expected to become an annual event, leading parades for the Harrison County Fair and Lanesville Heritage Weekend, a Christmas dinner celebration, partnering with the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County for the employment of veterans and participating in bicentennial events in the county.
The group also hosted a 5k run last year to help raise funds. Another 5k is planned for May 28 (more details will be provided as the date approaches) and, as part of the day’s events, there will be another roll call and a dinner.
‘We’ve made a lot of strides in a year,’ Goodwin said. ‘Carrie and Desley put in a lot of work.’
McDaniels maintains a website for the VOHC so those who are unable to attend the meetings can be kept up to date about the group and other items of interest.
Eckart told about two dozen attendees at the annual meeting that it was going to take them to help spread the word to others about the group as well as services and benefits the veterans service office can assist with and provide.
‘People don’t know what’s available and how to get help,’ Strange said. ‘They think they have to retire from the military to receive benefits … ‘
Snyder said she welcomes suggestions of what veterans would like to see made available to them.
Refreshments for the meeting were furnished by Nick and Kim Melton.
For more information about the Veterans of Harrison County Inc., call Snyder or Bridgewater at 812-738-4249 or contact any of the board members.