LAWTON, OK (TNN) - the Military Welcome Center is fully funded by donations, so the dinner tonight gave the VFW a chance to give back to other military members and their families.
Every day when flights leave and arrive, there’s likely a veteran, active duty member or a family member landing in Lawton. For those guests, the Military Welcome Center was created.
Becky Pazoureck the Volunteer Chairman said, “Young troops that come through the airport who have never flown before, never been away from home before.”
The center was created by a group of women who watched the way their husbands were treated when they came back after Vietnam. These women wanted a change.
“They didn’t want this generation of war fighters to go through that,” said Carol Herrick, the Armed Services YMCA executive director.
Each year, close to 16,000 people go through the Welcome Center. Herrick says they have close to 100 volunteers who work close to 6000 hours annually. Pazoureck spent her whole life involved with the military, and said she’s excited to be apart of it again.
“I was a military brat, I was a military wife, I was on active duty myself, so I have a fondness for military people and whatever I can do to help. It’s rather enjoyable to volunteer out there,” said Pazoureck.
For the center to stay open they need donations regularly. While Herrick says they aren't necessarily close to shutting down, they are in need of more donations to provide the military visitors with nice amenities.
“There’s no revenue generated through this program so we do rely on donations. We allocate funds to those projects, but every little bit helps and makes a big difference when it comes to serving our service members and their families," said Herrick.
The VFW hosts a wide range of fundraisers throughout the year, but tonight’s was their first one ever to give back to the Welcome Center.
“It’s a great honor to help out other people, especially other veterans. We’re tickled to death that people came in. We just hope more come in and spend more money," said Dale Scott, the VFW Post Commander.
The spaghetti dinner raised more than 1,500 dollars.