All-American Shoot Out – Fundraiser for Gold Star Families
By Amanda Renkiewicz
There’s traditional fundraising (bake sales, dinners, raffles), and then there’s fundraising the Airborne way: an All-American Shoot Out.
The Northern Michigan All Airborne Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Association is a group for anyone who is currently serving on active duty jump status; or has ever served in any of the uniformed services on either jump or glider status and was honorably discharged. As their name depicts, the members aren’t just Active Military or Veterans, but the specialized people who volunteered to be further trained as elite soldiers. Taught to be parachutists, these men and women learned how to jump out of a plane, with the mission of getting behind enemy lines to cut off their supplies, interrupt their logistics, and gain intelligence. Their dedication to others continues through their fundraising for Gold Star Family members going into trade school or college.
The Gold Star: America’s Promise to Never Forget
Have you ever seen a flag with a single star? These flags date back to the first World War when families that sent a loved one into the service or overseas would put a blue star on a flag, depicting their support and patriotism. When a service member was lost, the flag would be changed to a gold star. The gold star represents the ultimate sacrifice. Generations of Americans have become what’s called “Gold Star Families”, and there are over 20,000 of these families in Michigan alone. These flags represent the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guards who gave their lives in service of our country. The Gold Star Family title is meant to honor the service member while acknowledging their family’s loss, grief, and continued healing. The Airborne Chapter awards $1,000 scholarships to Gold Star Families, helping them attend school and further their education.
The first annual Shoot Out is taking place at the Northport Gun Club on May 21st, with twenty-four teams of four people competing in five different events. The points will be added up to determine a winning team. Included in the competition is a service handgun/pistol shoot, a .22 rifle range shoot, and a few fun twists like a frisbee toss and cornhole. Participants are provided with lunch and soft drinks.
In true community fashion, there’s been an outpouring of donations and involvement for the event. The Airborne Chapter has been gratified at how everyone is helping to support these scholarships. While the event is certainly a competition, the real focus is to raise money to honor Gold Star families. Safety is also integrated into every aspect of the event, and the Leelanau Sheriff’s Department is heavily involved to make the day both special and secure.
The Shoot Out event, its sponsors, and its attendees are all coming together to honor the legacy of fallen heroes and raise awareness for Gold Star Families. Together with the community, the Airborne Chapter continues its devotion to keeping the memory of deceased service members alive and their families honored and cherished.
To participate, sponsor, or learn more about this event, contact the Airborne Chapter Chairman Andrew Nickodemus at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hear more about the meaning of the Gold Star – (Credit: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/)