Pennsylvania is home to nearly 396,000 veterans ranging in age from 18 to 64. Many of our older vets spend most of their days in retirement facilities. Those who served our country had a welcome change of pace on Saturday.
A smile on the face of a veteran said it all — the joy of doing something different. With the support of a local chapter of the veterans organization Rolling Thunder, a couple of dozen veterans living at the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center in Scranton spent the day at the Moscow Sportsman Club shooting skeet. Rolling Thunder PA Chapter 3 President Augie Barghit said, “They get a day out. They get to do something different and just camaraderie.”
Some needed a little assistance with the recoil, others a little assistance as they shot skeet from their wheelchairs. But hit or miss, it was a day to get outside and have some fun. Veteran Thomas Dominic said, “I missed 1 or 2. I know I missed 1.” “You hit 23/24 out of 25,” said another man.
Fran Renda was one of the volunteers helping out Saturday. It’s a morning, he said was well spent. “It’s nice to get out of the building for a while, especially up here in the country. It’s really beautiful.”
Not everyone came to shoot. Some came to simply watch. Organizers say events like this are well worth the time and effort spent organizing them. “Everything was donated and we’re going to have some money left over that we can put in the welfare fund,” said Mr. Barghit.
All too soon the day trip was over but many vets left with one lasting impression.
Veteran Angelo Lose said, “In Pennsylvania here, they’re very good to veterans. Very good to veterans.”
Rolling Thunder PA Chapter 3 also holds a motorcycle fundraiser each July called Salute to Veterans Ride. This year it is scheduled for Sunday, July 15 with registration at 9:00 a.m.