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Veteran center in Kingman benefits from fundraising event

Rick Shelby

KINGMAN - The organizer of the second annual Operation Help a Vet event is hoping it will speed up the opening date of a planned veterans center.

Rick Shelby, director of the Kingman Veterans Memorial Trust, said about $4,000 has been raised so far for the Out of the Sandbox Vet Center, which will be located in Kingman. Shelby said it would take about $25,000 to equip and staff the center.

Shelby also plans to apply this fall for a grant from the Arizona Department of Veterans Services.

"The veteran center will be open to all veterans regardless of their service branch and terms of discharge," said Shelby, who served in the U.S. Marines. "It will be a place to relax, watch television and participate in peer counseling.

"The federal government is doing a lot to help these kids and is reaching out to get them counseling, but then they're in the database as having mental problems, which can hurt them down the road. At our vet center, they'll be anonymous."

Operation Help a Vet will take place from 6 p.m. to closing July 20 at Timeout Tavern, 2601 N. Stockton Hill Road.

Three local bands - Justified, Rivals and Monkey Biz'nezz - will perform and there will be drink specials during the event.

A variety of prizes from area businesses will be raffled throughout the evening, with tickets selling for $1 each or six for $5. Also, a 51-inch Samsung plasma television will be given away at the end of the event, with tickets available for $10 each or six for $50.

All proceeds from the evening will help open the Out of the Sandbox Vet Center.

"We definitely see a need for the vet center," said Shelby. "Kingman has a big substance abuse and homelessness problem here among its veterans. And we can't begin to count how many police contacts there are with veterans. These kids have been to war and back several times and they're not coming back whole. They need a safe place where they won't be judged."

For more information, call Shelby at (928) 266-3600.

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