Bikers, Start Your Engines — the 2012 VetsFest is Set for Oct. 7 at the Guilford VFW

Breaker 19 — we're going to have ourselves a motorcycle convoy!

Bikers get ready to start those engines! The VetsFest 2012 to be held on Oct. 7 at the Guilford VFW, starting with a motorcycle convoy.

Five years ago, Guilford resident Larry Santamaria approached Stephen Spurrell asking for his building advice. The VFW's boilers were on their last legs, there were many leaks, lots of rot, and NO building insulation. After a long hard look at the building, that is when the decision was made to tear down the existing building and rebuild a new one in its place — at no cost to the Veterans.

Spurrell emphasizes, "Many of us know active military members or those that have already proudly served our Country. What about those brave men and woman that are currently serving our Country in hostile areas overseas? I hope that you will stop for a minute and offer your thoughts and prayers for their healthy and safe return. Take one more step with me if you will to talk about who cares for our military after they return to civilian life? The Veterans Administration cares for our Vets as far as the budget will allow. But where do those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan go to be with people that understand what they have gone through?"

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) halls sprang up all around the country in the early 1900s. Finally, our returning Vets had a place to go to talk, socialize, or ask for help in coping. To re-build the Guilford VFW, funding is needed.

Edwin Bartlett, a veteran of the Marine Corps, was asked to lead the fundraising campaign. Bartlett said VetsFest raises awareness of sacrifices veterans have made and also of the Guilford VFW building project. He explains the VFW makes money to support veterans and run programs by renting out the hall for events and meetings.

The VetsFest will be held at the Guilford VFW, located at 104 Mill Road. The ride sign up begins at 10 a.m. and riders leave promptly at 11 a.m. A donation to ride is $25 per motorcycle to benefit the re-building of the Guilford VFW. Non-riders are $15 to join the festivities at the VFW from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visit the event page on Facebook. The Guilford VFW welcomes and invites all residents in Connecticut.

To honor our veterans and attend an event such as this, the feeling of those who attend and donate deliver pride and joy knowing their admission and donations put them among the heart of the rebuilding of the Guilford VFW for our veterans and for those who continue to fight for our freedom — as freedom doesn't come free.

Donations can also be made at any time to the Guilford VFW via mail at New Building Fund, P.O. Box 173 Guilford, CT 06437. You may also go to www.guilfordvfw.com and donate through PayPal.

If you are a tradesperson willing to donate some time, a materials supplier willing to help, or just want to stay informed of news and events, email Stephen Spurrell with your contact information at Steve@TheWhitemanTeam.com or call him at 203-458-3449.


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