On Monday, Sept. 23, Jeff Gural gathered with representatives from the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group to present them with a check for $104,960; one of the largest checks presented to the veterans group to date. The dollars raised are from a benefit concert held each at Tioga Downs each year in which the ticket sales are donated to the group, and then Gural matches it.
This year’s concert featured one of Gural’s favorites, Lee Greenwood, along with Crystal Gale and was held on Aug. 8. Ticket sales totaled $52,480, according to a representative from Tioga Downs, and with the match totaled $104,960.
Gural talked about his desire to assist veterans, a commitment he continues to fulfill.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that when they come back that we don’t take care of them,” said Gural of military returning from deployment. “The Southern Tier Veterans Support Group is doing a great job” he added, “and there’s a need.”
The Southern Tier Veterans Support Group is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a network of resources for local veterans, service members and their families. The organization serves the Southern Tier of New York and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania by providing a broad range of services and assistance to enhance each veteran’s physical, emotional and economic well-being.
The organization has assisted veterans with getting caught up on rent, paying for car insurance, money for Christmas gifts, security deposits, and much more. And although they hold fundraising efforts, the money received from Tioga Downs each year is making a big impact on the amount of support they are able to offer to veterans and their families, according to Ben Margolius, president of the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group.
Margolius himself served as a Lt. Colonel in the Army from 1963-1991, and served in Vietnam twice; so he is familiar with the struggles facing military members following deployment. He noted that when he returned from Vietnam they received no support, and didn’t even wear their uniforms for fear of condemnation.
But things are different today, and Margolius talked of the multitude of agencies that support veterans, and referred to the area as “Veteran-centric,” mentioning the new veterans clinic on Court Street in Binghamton as well as the existing centers in the area. He also talked of a new veterans center that is in the works.
To find out more about the organization, visit www.stvsg.org/. You can also call them at (607) 205-8332.
For Gural, he continues to support veterans, and was very pleased with this year’s benefit concert, which is held each summer. He talked about Lee Greenwood, and the patriotic message of his iconic song, “God Bless the USA.”
“That song is amazing,” Gural added.
To learn more about Tioga Downs Casino Resort, visit www.tiogadowns.com.