Veterans Day may be over, but the sacrifices and losses our service members experience don’t disappear after the holiday.
Over the weekend, Coastal Coffee Roasters in Summerville collected more than $3,000 for the Independence Fund. Tomorrow, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m., the check will be presented to the fund at the Lowcountry Harley Davidson.
The Independence Fund is a volunteer nonprofit organization that raises money to support wounded veterans and their caregivers when they return home. Locally, they have been the organizers for the yearly Lt. Dan Band performances and veteran getaways. Ninety-nine percent of donations go toward items that make daily life a little easier such as all-terrain wheelchairs for amputees, home wheelchair ramps, and bonding retreats.
“To see these guys be able to stand again with these all-terrain wheelchairs after not being able to is just amazing,” says volunteer Karen Huling. “They’re able to go hunting and fishing and to the beach again. Their whole lives have changed, but these chairs help them do things they wouldn’t have been able to.”
The Independence Fund is also collecting supplies, treats, letters, and Christmas cards to send to service members overseas. Any items that can make the postal trip are encouraged. “I’ve sent things like inflatable pools, water balloons, beef jerky, lotions, and soaps,” adds Huling. “Sending these small, everyday things shows them that we actually care.” Donations are encouraged to be dropped off as soon as possible to Lowcountry Harley Davidson to ensure they get to the troops before Christmas.
A motorcycle donated from Lowcountry Harley Davidson that has signatures from each of the 100 senators is currently being auctioned off to support the fund. Bids have already surpassed $300,000, and the auction ends later this month.
“You see these wounded soldiers and you can’t leave without tears in your eyes,” says Huling, getting choked up. “People don’t realize what that these men and women go out and do for us. It’s the least we can do.”
You can learn more about the Independence Fund at http://www.independencefund.org/. To drop off donations, go to Lowcountry Harley Davidson at 4707 Dorchester Road, North Charleston, SC 29405.