By Stephanie Thompson

Veteran fundraisers continue


August 8, 2019

The need for a van 15 years ago sparked a fundraising effort to help veterans and it’s still going on today.

The Rock Springs Disabled American Veterans Chapter 12 continues to raise money to help veterans in need.

Louis Dale, former DAV Cmdr., said in August of 2004 the DAV was trying to get a new van to transfer veterans to and from Salt Lake City for medical appointments because the van they were using was in rough shape.

“It was an accident just waiting to happen,” Dale said. “I went to friends and family to collect money for the new van.”

Dale collected $8,000 through his efforts and obtained a $16,000 grant from the Marna M. Kuehne Foundation in Sheridan. The garage to store the van cost about $9,000.

Dale said he asked the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce for a donation and they said he should get in touch with Green River resident Harry Holler, who was the American Legion Cmdr., at the time.

Dale, who was a member of the VFW and the American Legion, recognized Holler’s name and through Holler he met with the Embassy Tavern’s owner and a poker run was established. It was named the Rally in the Alley.

Over the years, other bars have joined in on the event, but Embassy Tavern and the Ponderosa Bar have been the two constant hosts. Dale said it was former Ponderosa Bar owner Bob Eaton’s idea to tape off an area in front of the bars and hire a band to perform, which added to the event.

“This allowed for a bigger crowd,” Dale said.

In 2005, Holler and Dale approached the Green River City Council to obtain permits for the event and in 2006 the event raised about $6,000. Since most of the money was already raised for the van, the fundraiser went to organizations and individuals that commit time and resources to assisting those who served or are serving in the military.

Since then, the Rally in the Alley event continues to provide funding for local groups who need it to help those who served this country.

“The majority of the funding comes from them,” DAV Adjutant Treasurer Celso Chacon said. “We help veterans out.”

He said veterans don’t have to be disabled veteran to receive help from the DAV. For example: the DAV helped a veteran with his car payments because he couldn’t afford to make the payments. They also helped a veteran and their family by providing money when they were having a hard time making ends meet. Dale used to write, mail out or hand deliver the checks, however he’s now 96 years old and wanted to pass the duty on to others, so DAV Cmdr. Elmer Burkhart and Chacon take care of passing out the checks now.

“I knew a lot of people who needed money,” Dale said. “Some didn’t even have money for meals. We try to give mostly to Sweetwater County veterans.”

Prior to the fundraising efforts, veterans took care of each other as best they could.

“We’d buy meals for veterans out of our own pocket,” Dale said.

As for the van, it still makes trips to Salt Lake City, but not as frequently.

Dale said at the height of its usage, the van ran at least 10 times a month with five drivers. Dale drove the van until 2011, when he broke his leg. After that, he couldn’t drive the van anymore. Now, only one driver goes to Salt Lake City once or twice a month.

Chacon said Dale was the one who got the DAV fundraiser going and has helped it continue. However, Dale doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t want to take much credit,” Dale said. “I was just the head of the whole thing. These other people did all of the work.”

Rally in the Alley 2019

This year’s rally will take place Aug. 17 starting at 9 a.m. There are five stops on the 15th annual poker benefit run for the DAV. Bike, trikes and other vehicles are welcome.

Live music will be provided by Funk and Gonzo. Kids are welcome for the dance outside.

Games, goldfish races and a pool tournament are also taking place. A pig roast is also taking place. Tickets are $10 per plate, but riders of the poker run can eat for free.


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