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Fleet Reserve works with active duty and veteran sea services

by Sarah Hauck
shauck@recordcourier.com
Joyce Buckingham of Toys for Tots and the Ron Wood Center poses for a photo with Jan Solberg and Carol and Rick Athenour of the Fleet Reserve Association Thursday in Carson City.
Brad Coman |

For most, the sound of the starting gun for 2016 means resolutions and goals.

The Fleet Reserves Association Sierra-Tahoe Branch 137 and the Ladies Auxiliary, however, are still reflecting on their efforts and accomplishments of 2015 before formulating their plans for next year.

“Last year was successful beyond expectations,” President Rick Athenour said. “Now the pressure is on to make 2016 just as successful.”

The Associations and Ladies Auxiliary’s main accomplishments for the last year were their introduction and established presence within the military community of the Mountain Warfare Training Center at Pickel Meadows.

Members organized several fellowship events within the Single Marines Program, while the auxiliary kept the Marines supplied with pounds of fresh baked goods on a monthly basis.

The outreach to active duty military extended to the families at the base housing in Coleville, which included an Easter Egg Hunt.

The auxiliary hoped to establish it as a yearly staple.

“We want to get more involved in the base housing,” Auxiliary President Jan Solberg said. “A lot of us don’t have grandkids around so to see the smiles on those little ones’ faces was enough for us to want to keep it going.”

Once a month they visited the VA hospital in Gardnerville, spending time with the patients while providing them with baked goods.

Members and residents donated more than 100 dozen cookies to Marines in the Pickel Meadows barracks.

“The community shows a lot of support for the veterans here,” Auxiliary Vice President Brenda Horton said. “Without their support it would make our objectives of outreach and support of this group of people harder to obtain.”

With membership more than doubling in the last two years, fundraising events and efforts have been easier to plan and see come to fruition.

A monthly bingo game helps fund financial support of veterans on Honor Flights.

“We’ve given $2,000 to Honor Flight,” Athenour said. “That is enough to get a vet on that flight.”

Auxiliary members continued to help veterans by providing baskets containing house-hold necessities for formerly homeless veterans who receive housing, stockings with toiletries and entertainment items like Soduko books at senior living communities, lap blankets for the Veterans House as well as blankets for active-duty military member mothers with newborn babies.

“We are constantly busy trying to help veterans in need whether they be on their own or in facilities,” Horton said. “We are now busy helping the active-duty military, as well.”

Combined the groups provided more than $12,000 to various community programs.

The upcoming year will see a continued focus on expanding their membership, which already exceeds those of Dayton and Fallon, and polishing the newer events to perfection.

“We want to continue to be an avenue for the community to reach out to veterans,” Vice President Verne Horton said. “A lot of people would like to help the veterans, but have no means of doing so. One of the main aspects of this group is to support one another and that includes our fellow veterans that aren’t members of Fleet Reserve in any manner we can. We have the attitude in place, and the momentum to have another great year.”

Donations were also made in the form of Thanksgiving boxes of complete dinners to veterans in senior living facilities, turkeys for Advocates Against Domestic Violence and participation in Empty Bowls.

The next year will see continued donations to the Suicide Prevention Network of Douglas County, Carson Valley Community Food Closet, Honor Flight Nevada and various veteran’s housing groups.

The Ladies hope to establish more definite goals for the new veteran’s home currently being established in Reno.

The FRA hope to continue establishing the relationship with both Pickel Meadows as well as base housing, and continue to grow membership, hopefully increasing active-duty membership.

Both groups will also be focused on hosting the national conference that will take place in August in Carson City.

The Fleet Reserve Association and the Ladies Auxiliary are for those who have served or are serving, or are spouses, in sea services such as the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

They meet 6:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month at the Veteran’s Hall in Carson City.

For more information, contact Athenour at 901-2684 or Solberg at 265-4784.