GENOA — In order to help those who once served the United States, local riders are invited to participate in the #fillupthehouse fundraiser for the Fisher House April 10 at Pappy’s Creekside Campground.
The Fisher House is a cost-free living facility for family members and caretakers of veterans receiving health care through the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center, and the fundraiser is an opportunity for those who ride side-by-sides to give back, said Lisa Skeens, organizer of the event.
Skeens said the fundraiser includes a $20 donation for anyone who rides on Saturday, April 10, and there will be multiple raffles taking place in the evening.
“I’m hoping that the whole community comes together to support our veterans, our military and gives back to them,” Skeens said. “Anything we can do for them — even if it’s $10, or buying food or taking anything out there, anything at all, I’m sure they would appreciate it. My hope is the community comes together to help us help them #fillupthehouse.”
Skeens’ hashtag refers to providing items the Fisher House may need for current or future occupants, including baby formula, paper products, food and more, or monetary donations so the Fisher House staff can buy what residents may need.
Riders and those who wish to participate in the raffle are being asked to show up to the campground around 9 a.m. so they can see what items are available, Skeens said. They will then have the opportunity to ride the trails however long they please, and the raffle winners will be announced around 5 p.m.
Skeens said community members have provided a variety of items for the raffles, such as gift cards, a free six-hour side-by-side rental, free pest control service for a year and more. Those interested in contributing other raffle items are still welcome to do so, Skeens said, until Friday, April 9.
Brian Barker, owner of Pappy’s Creekside Campground, said the fundraiser is a great chance for people to give back to veterans, since they once made sacrifices for others.
“They’ve (veterans) given so much for us, and the Fisher House is an excellent program so we can give back to the ones who gave for us,” Barker said. “They didn’t go and fight just for them or just for a few, they fought for everybody.”
Skeens said she wants to challenge local businesses to either match or challenge each other to see who can raise the most funds to give to the Fisher House. As the first Fisher House in West Virginia, all of the donated items and money will go specifically to the local house.
Skeens said since veterans receiving medical care are already worried about getting healthy, this fundraiser can help them worry less about family members, and family members can focus on caring for veterans.
“We owe it to our military, and what better way to do it than to provide for them, help fill up the house for them, that way they don’t have to want for anything,” she said. “They have enough to deal with than to wonder where they’re going to stay or eat when they are caring for a family member.”
Skeens is a member of West Virginia Outlaw Riders, a group of side-by-side riders who ride together and work together to help the community. They have organized a few fundraisers for those in need so far and have more plans for 2021 as well as trail cleanup days, Skeens said.
Skeens has also created a Pay It Forward fundraiser on Facebook for those who wish to donate without riding or participating in the raffle. It can be found on the WV Outlaw Riders Facebook page.
Pappy’s Creekside Campground is located at 5754 Old N & W Railroad Road in Genoa.