STATELINE – One local Stateline group has joined forces with a home-based charity to help make a difference in the lives of combat veterans.

Northern Illinois Rifle and Pistol Club in Rockford, had a vision to support a local veteran’s group. They decided on Darkhorse Lodge, a non-profit 501c3 organization started by Gretchen Catherwood of Byron. Darkhorse Lodge, a retreat for combat veterans, is being built in memory of her son Alec Catherwood and the other 24 fallen Darkhorse U.S. Marines. Alec graduated from Byron High School, and served in Afghanistan in 2009. Following the loss of their son, a local Marine, the Catherwood family has put their hearts into making a difference in service men and women’s lives by building a retreat where combat veterans can visit, free of charge.  They know by close contact with other servicemen this retreat can make a real difference.  It seems like Darkhorse Lodge is at an amazing tipping point of winning this battle to get the lodge built.

With limited resources, initially Northern Illinois Rifle and Pistol Club just sought to help bring awareness to this cause. This starting point grew into an amazing event, a Benefit Banquet, because of the dedicated club members and the community. This benefit banquet, held on Saturday, June 4, at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds, will be catered by Toni’s of Winnebago, with 100% of the proceeds from the banquet going to Darkhorse Lodge, a not for profit 501c3 organization.  NIRPC is proud to support this initiative and help it grow.

We invite everyone to come enjoy the banquet. Tickets are limited to 500 and are selling faster and faster every week. If you’ve ever wanted to be part of something that made a real difference in a veteran’s life, now is the time. We have some fantastic donations for the silent auctions. We are listing them on our NIRPC Gun Show Facebook page as they come in. Individuals and local companies have joined in supporting Darkhorse Lodge and have donated wonderful items. We have something for everyone to bid on – from gift baskets to a brand new Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor!!! Mrs. Catherwood, along with Jerry Olhson, will speak at the banquet. You will hear firsthand about their passion and the facts behind why this retreat for combat veterans will help. You can be an exciting bidder on any of the great donated items, or simply make a financial donation to Darkhorse Lodge, which can be taken at any time, all while enjoying a good dinner and great company! Tickets can be purchased at Felkers Foods in Byron, or at SuperValu in Oregon. Contact, or call 815-209-6704 for more information.

This is a call to action. Not everyday we can make a significant difference to those who served our country, but today is one of those days.

Heroes Make a Difference.

Be One.

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