Aid Our Veterans Bull Roast

On Saturday, January 13, Aid Our Veterans is holding a Bull Roast fundraiser at the American Legion Post 148 in Essex. Aid Our Veterans is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization working to help homeless and out of work veterans with programs and services such as housing and job training and placement.

According to Aid Our Veterans, after military service, too many veterans return to the civilian world only to find a lack of jobs in a changing world. Unfortunately, many veterans slip through the cracks and end up homeless or unemployed.

“One of the main things we say is the words ‘homeless’ and ‘veterans’ should never be used in the same sentence,” said Debra Smith, Director of Aid Our Veterans, located on Eastern Avenue near Eastpoint Mall. “This is our way of giving back to those who gave so much. They gave the ultimate sacrifice. This is a way to help vets who gave you your freedom.”

“This time of the year is really slow for donations and volunteers. The weather is killing us,” she added. “That’s why we need to do fundraisers like the Bull Roast.”

The Bull Roast will feature music, door prizes, 50/50s, silent auctions, wheels of chance, lay downs, games and more. The menu includes pit beef, ham and turkey, beef barbecue, chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked beans, string beans, baked mac and cheese, salads, a variety of desserts, draft beer, soda, coffee and hot tea. A cash bar will be available for mixed drinks.

Door prizes, baskets and raffles will include baskets of cheer; a flat screen television; a tailgating package; vacation packages; and lots of family fun night packages. Lupton’s Sports Collectibles will be running a silent auction with sports memorabilia. Special guest of the evening will be Santa Claus, who is currently vacationing but will make this last appearance before heading back to the North Pole.

“I do a lot of charitable work for many organizations, and Aid Our Veterans is one I proudly support. I’m happy to live in a country where I have the freedom that I have thanks to those who provide it,” said Brian K. Marchetti, a professional Santa for Hire who is donating his time at the Bull Roast. “I was lucky enough to have some special elves volunteer with me this past season, and they will be joining me at this event. We are really looking forward to helping out this great cause.”

Aid Our Veterans was founded in 2008 by Thomas Conlan, a US Navy veteran, in response to the many needs he had witnessed among fellow military veterans. Conlan was concerned by the ever-growing population of homeless and jobless veterans, many of them suffering from war-related injuries and mental health issues. Having enjoyed a successful career in the construction field after his service, Conlan felt he needed to give back, so he started Aid Our Veterans. When Conlan passed away in 2013, Smith was named the director.

Veterans can call the organization directly to ask for assistance, but many veterans are referred to them by other organizations such as the VA.

“If they are a vet and they served, we will help them. It doesn’t matter where they live,” said Smith. “Some organizations will only serve one branch of the military while Aid Our Veterans covers all branches.”

“Many of the veterans are homeless, and are looking to get into shelters. But some don’t want to get off the streets for whatever reason, so we try to find them a cheap motel, or they may want tents and sleeping bags,” she said.

Other veterans who are not homeless might be down on their luck because of medical bills. Some are working, but they can’t catch up with their bills after being out of work for a long period.

Smith says that 85% of Aid Our Veterans volunteers are veterans themselves. “A lot of those volunteers are vets who have been helped. They want to pay it forward,” she said. “Attending our Bull Roast is a great way for others to give back as well.”

Some of the services Aid Our Veterans offers include:

  • Supporting veteran shelters
  • Working with VA hospitals to place homeless veterans in shelters and find emergency bedding
  • Finding job training and work placement assistance
  • Providing food, clothing, and furnishings on a case-by-case basis
  • Providing emergency assistance with critical items such as rent, heating bills and medical costs
  • Helping place donated vehicles with veterans in need of transportation for work
  • Putting veterans to work doing community outreach and fundraising
  • Helping coordinate counseling when needed
  • Coordinating visits to VA hospitals and rehabilitation centers

Aid Our Veterans Fundraiser Bull Roast

Saturday, January 13, 2018

6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

American Legion Post 148, 20 South Marlyn Ave., Essex, MD 21221

Tickets are $45.00 per person.

For tickets or more information, call (410) 391-8721 or go to

VA Providing Support to Veterans in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTONIn the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it continues to provide vital health care and other support to displaced Veterans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

In Puerto Rico where electricity was knocked out by Hurricane Maria, the San Juan VA Medical Center (VAMC) — currently operating on generator power and staffed by 800 employees — is providing health care for 338 inpatients, with primary care and mental health services available for walk-in patients. 

“We have been in constant contact with VA Caribbean Healthcare System leadership in San Juan and are sending relief resources to the VA Medical Center as soon as possible through available transportation assets,” said VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour. “Along with hurricane-hardened construction standards, the San Juan VAMC has enough fuel, water and other supplies to last at least seven days, if not more.”

Since Hurricane Maria also damaged communication systems, such as cellular phone towers and telephone landlines, VA officials have been monitoring the VA Caribbean Facebook page, and responding to family requests for status of both patients and staff.

Meanwhile, all community clinics, including Vet Centers in Puerto Rico and USVI, have been closed until further notice. Patients with appointments will be contacted as soon as possible to reschedule. Veterans Benefits Administration offices are also closed. VA national cemeteries in Puerto Rico are also temporarily closed.

VA is also coordinating standby personnel to deploy in the event they are needed, along with mobile shelters for use as sleeping quarters, as well as mobile medical units, which can be used to augment medical services in the area.

VA teams will begin damage assessments as soon as it is safe to do so and travel routes are clear. Once assessments are complete, officials will share information about when VA clinics will be operational.

The following resources are available for Veterans and employees impacted by the hurricanes: