School isn’t out for the summer yet, but over the weekend Beaver Toyota looked like a Fourth of July picnic, complete with music, guests catching up with each other, games and, of course, barbecue.
On Saturday, the dealership welcomed members of American Legion Post 307, based in Cumming, to hold their annual Armed Forces Day Fundraiser event, which saw members of the organization selling and serving barbecue plates to benefit programs for veterans in Forsyth County and around the state.
“This is our big fundraiser of the year,” said Frank Singleton, post commander. “We do a couple of smaller ones, but this is, for the most part, what we use to fund homeless veterans, unemployed veterans, when someone is deployed overseas and their family needs help for rent or the electric bill or a medical problem of some sort that we like to be able to step in and offer some support.
“I say 100 percent goes to it. It’s actually more like 120 percent because we all come out of pocket to make these things happen.”
Singleton said funds will go toward the Northeast Georgia Homeless Veterans Shelter in Winder and Christmas gifts for veterans in local hospitals.
“For military folks, it’s all about continued service, and this county’s all about service, so it’s a great fit,” he said.
Some of the funds will also go to Boys State and Girls State programs – held at Riverside Military Academy and Georgia Southern University, respectively, each summer – which allow rising seniors in the program to form governments, campaign, vote and undertake other principles and procedures of government.
Legion officials said the local chapter had sent more students to the competition than any other in the state in recent years.
“We’ve had the top man, the governor [for Boys State], elected from our post the last couple of years,” Larry Havenhill, senior vice commander of the post.
This is the 12th year of the fundraiser, but officials said it was the first year at Beaver and included a new American flag being flown on the grounds with a ceremony from the Forsyth County Fire and Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard.
“Right in the middle of planning everything, they said, ‘Our dealership owner is going to put up a big American flag. We want that to be included in the ceremony,’’’ Singleton said.
Singleton said with the success of this year’s event, there was an agreement to come back to Beaver Toyota next year.
“This is our first year doing it here, and it was a great success,” he said. “Next year will be even better.”
While Singleton said he plans to attend, it will be in a different role as he is set to step down as post commander this fall. Havenhill will take over the position.
“Working with Frank’s been a real pleasure over the years, and we’re sad to see him leave,” Havenhill said, “but I understand after you’ve been doing it for a number of years, it’s time to move on.”