Fundraiser Helps A Soldier’s Child Serve Children of Fallen Servicemen and Women
Putting together a fundraiser banquet is challenging enough during normal times.
There are a myriad of details to work out. Including invitations, guest appearances, and auction items. Plus food and beverage decisions, seating charts, and much more. Throw in COVID-19 and you can pretty much double your preparation time.
Despite the challenges, A Soldier’s Child (ASC) Foundation’s annual fundraiser was a huge success. The 11th Annual “A Life Worth Celebrating” Dinner Banquet was held August 7 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Approximately $100,000 was raised by the organization. For the past 12 years, they’ve served children of fallen servicemen and women from all U.S. military branches. They’ve done this through birthday celebrations and summer camps. As well as mentorship programs and academic scholarships.
Distancing protocols in effect
“We were in a ballroom that normally seats 3,000. But we limited seating to 400 attendees,” said ASC Communications Coordinator Caitlyn Jones.
“There were tons of restrictions to make sure we kept people safe. Including taking temperatures at the door and providing masks.
“The tables were also spread apart and we only seated four at a table, except for families.
“We felt it was essential to hold this event. It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year. We are very grateful that it was able to happen.”
21 military families attend
Among attendees at the event were 21 of the families supported by ASC, including 33 children. Each family received a placard of their fallen military parent.
Also in attendance was Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. The entertainment featured country music legend Trace Adkins. He performed his hit single Arlington.
Other performers included Frank Sinatra tribute artist Lou Galterio. He sang the National Anthem. And the Dan Oxley Band.
The guest speaker was Army Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell. He served his country for 37 years.
Auction items bring in support
Auction items included memorabilia from the late country musician Charlie Daniels.
Other items included signed guitars by a variety of musicians.
But the “items” that brought in the most money were a pair of 10-person dinners hosted by Daryl Mackin. He is the founder and executive director of A Soldier’s Child. Mackin served as a chef in the U.S. Navy.
4Patriots, which makes monthly donations to ASC, added a financial contribution of $2,500 to help defray some of the banquet costs.
‘Convicted in my spirit’
Mackin came up with the idea for ASC while preparing for his own 6-year-old son’s birthday party.
While typing out the invitations, he looked up at a photo of his neighbor’s son, Christian. Christian’s father, Marc Golczynski, was a fallen soldier from the Iraq War.
Mackin had been looking at the work he was doing for his son’s invitations as a “chore.”
“I looked up at my wall and was immediately convicted in my spirit for my negative attitude,” he said. “My heart turned to Christian, who will never be able to have a party planned by his dad.
99% benefit from the 1%
“There are many children like Christian that will never receive another birthday from their father/mother. Because they gave their life while defending our freedoms.”
Mackin realizes he can never change that fact. But he also knows those children deserve much more than they receive.
“Ninety-nine percent of Americans never defended the freedoms that they get to live out in this country,” he said. “One percent of our population volunteers to do that and when they don’t come home, their children suffer for it.
“We’re caring about a population of children that nobody in our country is really thinking about. Part of our mission is to educate our country that these children – these families – exist. And really, they should be No. 1 on our list of giving.”
Dealing with the pandemic
Like nearly every organization around the globe, ASC has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“The biggest hit we’ve taken were the spring, summer and fall camps for the kids that we had to cancel,” Jones said.
“It’s nothing short of heartbreaking when we have to tell the kids they can’t come this time. But we’re working around it the best we can.
“We held a family legacy camp for 12 families. The parents came and had their own hotel rooms and were able to control what their kids could do. And we’ll have a limited number of fall camps. Including a horse camp in Nebraska.
C-CAP events make it possible
“The pandemic makes it difficult, but we need to bring in the hope factor. We help these kids live more courageous lives,” Jones continued.
“We want to make sure they don’t feel forgotten. They will carry this burden for the rest of their lives. But we try to bring a positive outlook to a bad situation.”
A big part of the mission during normal times is sending birthday gifts to the approximately 3,000 children served by ASC.
Compassionate Corporate America Partner (C-CAP) events include partnering with a variety of groups. Such as corporations, churches and the Tennessee National Guard. They help with the shopping, wrapping and mailing of these gifts.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year families are receiving $150 gift cards instead. “We hope to return to normal next year,” Jones said.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on America the past six months. But A Soldier’s Child will not allow it to stop support of the deserving children of our fallen heroes.