Despite bitter cold January temperatures more than 100 Stateline residents came out to support the second annual Bowl for Vets event held Saturday, Jan. 7 at Dodge Lanes in Belvidere. The fundraiser brought in more than $5,400 in cash to help Boone County veterans who are in need of financial or emotional assistance. The amount raised is more than $1000 above last year’s total.

“I was shocked by last year’s total and even more surprised and pleased by this year’s amount,” said Bob Ryder, Superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Boone County, the agency that will distribute the funds to local veterans. “I can promise you every penny will go directly toward helping Boone County veterans in need, pay for their utilities, medical bills, food, or even rent in some cases.”

Alyssa Leigh Cortes was the organizer behind the event, and she said her motivation to put in all the time and effort to make the Bowl for Vets happen is simply her desire to help.

“I feel our troops and veterans often times get neglected and forgotten about. Once they come home, they don’t get the support they deserve. I want to change that,” Cortes said. “I want people to know they can help, even if it’s very little. They need our help, and our support, not just shares on Facebook. It’s the least we can do. Two of my grandfathers served, as well as my great uncle who loved sharing his stories. I have always had a soft spot for our troops and it’s always been something I am very passionate about supporting.”

Cortes added that between bowling lane sponsors and donations from businesses, approximately 60 local businesses donated and supported. She added several family members, friends, and even a few friendly Marines deserve credit for helping with the event.

“I hope that my efforts give a little relief to our local vets, even if it’s simply paying for their groceries one week so it’s one less thing they have to worry about,” Cortes said. “I can’t imagine knowing a veteran is without heat during the winter, or without food on their table. I also want them to know their community supports them, and we thank them.”

Superintendent Ryder added that all of the funds raised go directly into the VACBC’s donation account, which means none of those funds are used to pay agency administrative costs, just to pay for direct assistance to veterans.

Cortes added that based on the successes of the first two Bowl for Vets events, she plans on holding a third one on Jan. 3, 2018.

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