The Veteran’s Day Breakfast happens on Nov. 9 from 8-11 a.m. at the Hood River Elks Lodge at 304 Cascade Ave.
Each year, the Elks put on a free community breakfast, obtain donated raffle prize items, and collect donations and proceeds from raffle prizes. Last year, more than 350 people dined and the event raised more than $5,000 for the local veteran community and started a brand new social and support group for local veterans.
“We use these funds to assist veterans in and around our community with relief efforts such as helping with utility bills, groceries, fuel, legal fees, even car payments when they find themselves in a challenging spot,” said Derek Larson, Leading Knight and chair of the Elks Veterans Committee.
Proceeds from last year’s event funded our new and now monthly social group at the Hood River Elks.
The group was created to bring community veterans together, provide information on relief and other types of aid available, and have a Veteran’s Service Officer on site to answer questions related to claims.
The meetings have included a representative of the local Veterans Administration outpatient clinic to answer medical questions, and representatives of the American Legion to address veterans with their special relief programs.
“We also provide free food and beer for the veterans, arranged for fishing trips, and pass relevant information about events and programs that are local and may be of interest to them,” Larson said.
“We now have more than 40 veteran members of our community who monthly gather at our lodge for this group.
For the Support Group, the Elks brought in a mental health professional who is a veteran himself, and created a safe, free, and casual support group that is open ended in purpose and intended to be a venue for veterans to discuss their challenges with depression, substance abuse, anger management, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other concerns.
“We now have a reoccurring group of around six veterans who regularly utilize this service,” Larson said.