Walk will help VA hospital meet many needs

Posted: Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kim Hoge has a long wish list of items she would like to provide for veterans and active-duty service members hospitalized at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

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"We'd like computers for veterans and computer access to the Internet; laptops for veterans to use at their bedside," said Ms. Hoge, the hospital's chief of volunteer services.

She is organizing a fundraiser Oct. 4 to meet some of those needs.

The Walk to Remember Our Military will be from 5 to 9 p.m. at the field behind the hospital on Wrightsboro Road.

Walkers can pick from two courses.

"We have the basic training course, which is handicapped accessible, and we have the gung-ho course, which is a little bit more hilly and is close to one mile," she said.

The event will include entertainment by the Sassy Brass Show Band, games and food and a special tribute to veterans.

Ms. Hoge said people who make a donation can put the name of a veteran on a balloon. The balloons will be released at dusk.

Ms. Hoge said she needs volunteers and donations for the event. Because of federal regulations, items at the walk such as concessions cannot be sold. The VA can't make a profit. It has to be done on a voluntary basis, she said.

Therefore, she needs donations of soft drinks, hot dogs and other food.

Ms. Hoge said she hopes to raise at least $10,000 through corporate sponsorships and donations on the day of the event, but that still doesn't meet the need.

"I spent $26,000 to meet needs between the second and third quarter (of the year)," she said.

Bus tickets, clothing and comfort items were purchased for veterans. Other items include plane tickets for eight veterans with spinal-cord injuries to attend the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic at the VA in San Diego from Sept. 28 through Oct. 3.

These types of expenses were funded through donations.

To donate or volunteer, call Ms. Hoge at (706) 731-7208.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at charmain.brackett@augustachronicle.com.



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