Villagers showed off their best Western outfits at the Villagers for Veterans’ Western Fashion Show/Dinner Dance held at Lake Miona Recreation Center on Friday evening to raise funds for Camp4Heroes.
The event kicked off with a live performance given by Camp4Heroes Music Director John Woodall, while guests ate their dinners
Woodall, who has been singing for veterans especially since 9/11, felt great to perform at Friday’s event. He said his experiences with singing for veterans makes him “humbled” and appreciative of the freedom and physical capabilities he has.
Camp4Heroes, a sanctuary located in Fairmont, N.C., was built to provide wounded veterans, firefighters, policemen and first responders a retreat for relaxation.
Capt. Woody, president of Camp4Heroes, said that raised funds from the event would go toward creating more programs for the sanctuary, such as music classes, blacksmithing and painting. He later said that the sanctuary has welcomed veterans from all over the country and even from Germany.
Camp4Heroes Ambassador Shanda Bear said that the another focus of the organization is to raise awareness on veterans’ suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder. The sanctuary serves as a place for veterans to enjoy camaraderie with their families and rebuild their wellness.
Villages for Veterans President Marie Bogdonoff says her goal for the event was to raise $4,000 to $5,000.
At around 6:30 p.m., models showed off their western outfits in a fashion show. Capt. Woody then went on stage to call several people to “go to jail” where people can donate money to bail them out.
The Orange Blossom Specials gave a square dance performance, followed by the Happy-Time Dancers after some line dancing.
“I’ll support any veterans, especially if they’re wounded,” said attendant Irving Locker of the Village of Santiago. Locker is a 93-year-old World War II veteran who was at the Battle of Bulge and at Utah Beach on D-Day.
Locker witnessed it all and said, “By God’s grace, I made it out fine,” to tell his story. The veteran even has WWII memorabilia at his home, from real Nazi flags to hand grenades, and lectures everywhere.