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Norwin Elks car cruise benefits veterans groups

Joe Napsha
| Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, 9:50 a.m.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Don Rohac (center) of Norwin Elks Lodge 2313 reacts with Dawn Lynn of the Pennsylvania Elks Home Nurses Association and Dick Wallace of the Norwin Elks during a presentation on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 by the Norwin Elks to various charities. This year, the Norwin Elks raised $7,800 from their annual Father’s Day Charity Car Cruise.

The Norwin Elks Club's annual Father's Day Charity Car Cruise had a lot of winners this year — top car, truck and motorcycle — but the big winners were several charities and nonprofit organizations that received $7,800 in proceeds from the event.

One of the organizations receiving money was Canyon Heroes, a Ligonier-based nonprofit that provides veterans with rafting trips on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The rafting trips, which are open to veterans from all states, are seen as a way to provide a therapeutic setting to help those dealing with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

“PTSD is a normal response to combat,” Matt Zamosky, director of the Westmoreland County Office of Veterans Affairs said during ceremonies last week at the Elks Club in Manor. “We are trying to help the veterans find their way home.”

The proceeds raised from the car cruise, which has been held every year since 2000, are donated to charity. An estimated 450 motorists displayed their vintage and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles to more than 1,000 visitors at the event on the lawn of the club off Sandy Hill Road.

“Every year it grows and gets more immense,” said Gary Ed, who assists with the car cruise.

Another organization receiving money, Wounded Warrior Patrol, helps wounded veterans and their families have a winter skiing experience at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Somerset County, said member Evelyn Alcorn.

“This is a great bonding experience,” Alcorn said.

Maj. Eric Glass, commander of the J. Howard Snyder Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 781 in North Huntingdon, said the money given to his group will be used to help buy ceremonial swords for the Norwin High School Air Force Junior ROTC.

“The students have been needing ceremonial sabers,” said Glass.

The check from the Elks is “much needed,” said Texie Weddell, director of agency services for the Westmoreland County Food Bank in Delmont.

The food bank, which serves almost 45,000 area residents each year, including 13,500 children, generates about 60 percent of its budget through fundraising, Weddell said.

“For every $1 donated, 95 cents goes to the community. With $1, we can buy $5 worth of food” because the food bank buys in bulk, Weddell said.

The other organizations receiving funding were: the Elks National Foundation, the Excela Health Intensive Care Unit campaign, the Penn-Trafford Community Band and the Pennsylvania Elks Home Nurses Association.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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