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Letter to the editor

Money in the bucket may not help veterans

POSTED: February 3, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Like many of you, I drive through the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 20 and Market Place Boulevard almost on a daily basis and see the men standing in the median collecting money.

One day recently I decided to ask one of the men claiming to be with Veterans Support Organization for a flyer on how the funds were being distributed.

After doing a little investigating, I discovered news reports that this Florida-based organization has been fined by the state of Tennessee for making false claims as to how the funds were distributed.

In addition, the Associated Press has reported that according to the 2011 earnings report to the IRS, the charity took in contributions of nearly $8.5 million but distributed less than $300,000 in grants and contributions. More than $1.8 million went to salaries and compensation, including an annual salary of $286,000 for president and founder Richard Van Houten.

Now don’t get me wrong, as the son of a career decorated Navy fighter pilot, I’m all for supporting our military, but there are much better ways to contribute to our veterans. As a nation, we are a giving people, but our protectors deserve better than this. The next time you roll up to this intersection, think twice before reaching for your wallet.

Scott Whelchel



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