The Army–Navy Game is an American college rivalry game in college football between the Army Black Knights of the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York, and the Navy Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Maryland.
Each year veterans and current military members look forward to the game, which is not only often seen as one of the most traditional and enduring rivalries in college football, but is an opportunity to bring attention to the ongoing needs of United States veterans.
Zac’s Burgers did its part to give back to veterans by being one of the main supporters of a local Army-Navy Game Beef and Beer Fundraiser hosted by Parkwood Youth Organization on Saturday, December 9.
The fundraiser raised money for a local veterans’ home and was open to veterans and their families and friends. Festivities included music from D.J. Bill Farrell, beverages, and lots of warm, delicious food donated by Zac’s Burgers. Also in attendance was Wildfire Radio’s Santa Booed First and 215 Live – both podcasting live from the hall before the game. Two large screen TVs were set up on opposite sides of the hall for everyone to enjoy the game.
Bill Moser, one of the organizers of the event, said that besides the money collected from tickets, attendees were asked to bring donations of needed items, such as new electric razors and sweat pants with elastic cuffs.
“It helps the vets purchase things that are difficult to do on a low income,” Moser said.
He explained that the mission of the event was for vets to be remembered and to give them a day out to enjoy.
“This wouldn’t be possible without Zac’s. It was easy to move forward with their support.”
Zac’s donated all the hamburgers, French fries and soda for the event. Zac’s owner Pete Politarhos explained that they have been trying to work with veterans, who they feel are an underserved population, for a while.
“Helping local vets was an easy decision to make for my family. Last month on Veteran’s Day we gave free food to vets at our Folsom location. About 60 people came,” Politarhos said.
“It was really good to talk to the vets. (I even met a vet) who served on a submarine. It was so intriguing to talk to someone who had been on a submarine for 70 to 80 days at a time.”
Francis Kowalski from Hamilton, New Jersey, who served in Vietnam from 1965 to 67 as a member of the military police assigned to the 4th Infantry Division and who is the National Commander of Catholic War Veterans was at the fundraiser with his family.
Taking care of vets and military life is a family affair. His wife is president of the Catholic War Veterans Auxiliary, his son was in the Marines and now his grandson is currently serving.
Kowalski said that events like this are important because it brings more awareness to the needs of veterans. He added that there has been a growing awareness over the last couple of years because more and more young people are serving.
George Figueroa, a private first class out of the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory on Southampton road was there to watch the game and to lend his support. He has been serving for almost 11 years now.
“Vets are a community. When we get together, we show who we are,” he said.
When discussing the needs of vets at the fundraiser, one recurring topic was the unfortunate number of vets living on the street today.
Bill Irvin, a vet at the fundraiser whose grandson helped organized the event, talked about recently meeting a fellow vet living on the street. He asked him why he didn’t go to the Veterans Administration for help.
Irvin said, “The man told him that he did go to them, but they couldn’t help. It was sad. I didn’t know how to help him.”
Staff Sergeant Shenksy of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 128th Chemical Company, had a similar experience when he ran into a homeless vet named James shivering outside a Wawa. James was living out of his car and looking for electrical work and any assistance he could get. Shenksy wasn’t sure what to do for him, but invited him to the fundraiser where he could at least be in the warmth for a few hours and have something good to eat.
James ended up gaining so much more from this act of generosity though. At the event, James was given three job offers and a $100 cash donation (courtesy of Bill Moser and his wife). A fellow vet then paid for a hotel room James until a permanent living situation could be found for him. Moser said he hopes things get better for James.
Overall, the event was a hit. About 150 people came out for the fundraiser and they raised nearly six thousand dollars for the local vets’ home.
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