Fundraiser for area veterans deemed a success

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Steven Pape holds a steel American Flag made at River Town Ironworks. The sale of the flags have been added to the ongoing fundraising for veterans.

By Ted Pennekamp

A benefit for veterans held in Prairie du Chien raised $1,000 in its first year, said Vietnam veterans advocate Steven Pape.

The benefit was held at Leisure Time Sports Bowl and Banquet on May 18 (National Armed Services Day) and raised funds for the Wisconsin Veterans Foundation and was sponsored by River Town Ironworks of Prairie du Chien, Leisure Time and the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).

The benefit helps veterans of all eras and their extended families with various issues. 

“Next year, part of the proceeds will be donated to veterans and their families in need in Crawford and Grant counties dealing with such issues as mortgage payments, rent, vehicle repairs, food, medical bills, and anything else pertaining to living costs,” said Pape.

He said he, River Town Ironworks and Leisure Time would like next year’s benefit to be even better.

“We’re looking for citizens and businesses to donate items to the silent auction for next year,” he said.

In addition, Pape, who is working on behalf of the VVA Wisconsin State Council, said they are continually having three fundraisers, selling glasses bearing the VVA logo, steel-plated flags sponsored and created by River Town Ironworks, and decals to help provide veteran-centric education about the effects of Agent Orange and other herbicides and toxins. The sale of the VVA logo glasses helps to support the Veterans Service Officer Program, which helps veterans and their families from all eras to apply for and receive the benefits they have earned through their service, including their military disability compensation, pension, and other benefits.

A new part of the above mentioned fundraisers will now be the sale of American Flags made by River Town Ironworks. Pape said the flags are made of steel and are painted with the same type of paint used on automobiles, so the flags are very durable. The flags are 24 inches high and 45 inches wide.

Pape said the Wisconsin Veterans Foundation uses 90 percent of all donations to provide services to Wisconsin veterans. The WVF is a nonprofit organization which is committed to ensuring the honor and dignity of every Wisconsin veteran. In addition, the WVF facilitates the professional development of counselors and medical personnel providing identification and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. More information can be found at

Pape said he is working directly under Richard Lindbeck, the state president of the VVA, and is certified in by the states of Wisconsin and Iowa.

In addition to the aforementioned services, the VVA provides scholarship opportunities such as the Richard T. Nuske Scholarship Program, which is specifically aimed at individuals seeking post-secondary education whose immediate or extended family members(s) is a Vietnam veteran. Also, the VVA helps to keep veterans apprised of new legislation or information regarding veterans’ benefits.

More information about donations, fundraisers and the sale of the flags can be found at River Town Ironworks, by calling 326-2310.

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