MASSENA - Amvets Post 4 in Massena will be hosting a chicken barbecue this month to help raise some money for their Rifle Squad.
The fundraiser will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Amvets post on Andrews Street. The meal includes half a chicken, Irish potatoes, baked beans and cole slaw for $8 a person. Take-out is available.
Amvets member and organizer George Curtis said they want to replenish the squads funds, which are used to cover the cost of travel to funerals, equipment and more.
Its to benefit the Rifle Squad. There is a cost involved in this. It costs us a lot of money for uniforms and jackets and gas for the bus. George wanted to do something for us. He has been asking me about having a little fundraiser for us. We try to take care of our own, Rifle Squad Commander Francis Bud Byington said.
With the cost of travel and uniforms alone, the Rifle Squad will be able to make good use of the funds raised during the event, he said.
We did over 60 funerals already this year, plus a couple of ceremonies and different things we do like flag raising, Mr. Byington said.
Their travels have taken them as far as Mooers, Lake Placid and Morristown.
Sometimes we have to take off at 9 oclock in the morning to be there for 10:30. These are highly unusual. Basically our area is Massena, Winthrop, Potsdam and that area, he said, noting they work with several local funeral homes including Donaldson Funeral Home, Phillips Memorial Home, Buck Funeral Home and Hammill Funeral Home.
Were there to honor our deceased veterans. Since Ive been involved, weve done well over 700. It started at the VFW and went to the Amvets, he said. Its a good squad. Theyre a very dedicated bunch of people.
In addition to the cost of gas for their bus, outfitting members also has a financial impact on the squad, according to Mr. Byington. The squad has 23 members, although some are unable to participate right now, he said.
It averages between $400 and $500 to outfit a new member. We buy all the equipment for them - jacket, hat, pants, tie, shirt, shoes, he said.
There is also the cost associated with maintaining their rifles.
Right now were re-doing them, and theyre not cheap. We like them to fire good. We have a guy that works on them, Mr. Byington said.
In addition, they have the cost of ammunition for the rifles.
We do get them from the government, but we can only get so many at a time, he said.
They sometimes receive donations for their service at funerals, but Mr. Byington said this will be the first time theyve had a fundraiser to recoup some of their costs. The squad does hold an annual banquet for recognize its members, though.
We had our banquet last Saturday at the Village Inn. We usually have a banquet once a year for them and give them all certificates, he said.
He said they look forward to seeing members of the community at the Oct. 26 fundraiser.
We welcome them. Come on down and visit with squad members, he said.