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Operation First Response exceeds fundraising goal, challenges other counties to do the same

Wednesday, Aug. 13 | By Hannah Dellinger
From Left : Wayne Robinson and Lou Alleman (from American Legion post 247 in Remington) help lower a flag suspended from a crane after the 3rd annual operation first response fundraiser, this year held at the fairgrounds.
Photo by Adam Goings
Operation First Response, a locally-based non-profit that supports the needs of wounded veterans and their families, has exceeded its fundraising goal of $1 per person in Fauquier County.

Two years ago County Supervisor Lee Sherbeyn (Cedar Run), who has been involved with the non-profit since its inception, challenged Fauquier County residents to donate one dollar per person in Fauquier. After their fundraising event this past Saturday at the Fauquier County Fairgrounds, OFR exceeded their goal of $63, 203 and have raised a total of $76, 985 this year.

Sherbeyn took the challenge a step farther and challenged other counties to follow suit. He now has 13 counties in the state of Virginia participating in the challenge to raise $1 per county resident.

Now he wants to expand the challenge even further. Sherbeyn wants every county in the state to take on the challenge, and possibly every state in the country.

“If we raise $1 per person in the country, that would give us about $300 million,” he said. “If you put that in a foundation it could raise $10 million a year in interest.”

According to their website, OFR gives over 96 percent of funds raised directly to wounded veterans and their families.

Sherbeyn said that the organization prides itself on spending very little on administrative and event fees and giving as much money as possible directly to veterans.

OFR was founded by then Fauquier County resident, Peggy Baker.

Her son worked at the Pentagon and was in the building during the 9/11 attacks.

Baker felt moved to start visiting wounded veterans after the historic attacks and tried to help them any way that she could.

“She found that there were lots of things that they needed, because some of them stopped getting paychecks,” said Sherbeyn.

He explained that once the soldiers came off active duty and applied for aid from Veterans Affairs (VA), it took up to six months before they received any money.

“The families didn’t have any food, they were loosing their cars, their homes,” he said.

Baker started giving money out of her own pocket to help the veterans and their families make ends meet.

Sherbeyn said that Baker’s friends started helping out as well. She eventually founded the official non-profit and has been collecting money for the cause ever since.

To make a donation or for more information, visit http://www.operationfirstresponse.org.

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