MASON — “A promise made is a promise kept” could be the motto of three members of the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 Auxiliary of Mason.
Jamie Crum, Kathy Edwards, and Jeanette Radford made a pact last year that if they could reach their fundraising goals for a veterans charitable outreach, they would shave their heads.
While the three were due to undergo the razor this month at the state convention in Glade Springs, COVID-19 put a halt to the gathering. It was to the advantage of the hometown crowd, however, who was able to watch the shaving after the women not only met, but exceeded their goals.
The trio set goals in $2,500 increments, with Radford committing to the haircut at the first mark. Edwards was second at $5,000, and Crum at $7,500. Their ultimate goal was $10,000.
On Sunday, while onlookers cheered, cosmetology student Caitlin Harrison shaved the heads of the women in the post picnic shelter in Mason. After changing into matching t-shirts, they presented a total of $11,000 to Jim Talerico of the Potomac Highlands Wounded Warrior Outreach.
The outreach is based in West Virginia and provides outdoor sporting opportunities to wounded veterans to help their healing process. The group organizes and funds three-to-five-day recreational outings for combat injured veterans, including deer, bear and turkey hunting, wildlife photography, archery, fly fishing and more.
In accepting the donation check, Talerico said 96 cents of every dollar donated to the program goes directly to the outreach. He added no one gets a salary.
The outreach is dear to Crum, who said her own son went on a deer hunt after his return from serving in Iraq. She said a guide is with the veterans at all times, and the adventure provides an opportunity for the participants to join other veterans for companionship and a chance to talk together.
Even though the trio met and exceeded their fundraising goals, the feat was not an easy one. The Coronavirus pandemic put a stop to their weekly post dinners when the veterans were forced to close. Other major events planned, including a benefit ride by The Legion Riders, and a benefit bingo were also cancelled.
But that didn’t stop the women, who were determined to reach the lofty goal. They solicited donations from both individuals and businesses to continue until their efforts were completed.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.