Whether you served in the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy or Coast Guard, it is an experience you never forgot. Perhaps you didn’t serve but you had a friend or a family member that served. You realize that sometimes people don’t return home exactly the way they left. The military has a phrase that says “Never leave a wounded person behind.” Well, now that some of our veterans have returned home they are wounded and need some help. On Saturday, August 20th The Disabled Veterans Chapter 32 held their first fund raiser. It was a Music Festival to honor our disabled veterans. Several people came out to enjoy the music have some food and exchange military stories. Riverdale Raceway in Toutle, Washington came to life and a good time was had by all.

We had the pleasure of speaking with one local lady who actually missed a friend’s wedding to attend the DAV Music Festival. Her father served in the military and she has a great deal of respect for all of the armed forces. There were several vendors at this fund raiser and they each had their own very personal reasons for being at this event on this extremely hot day. As we walked around both the love of country and the military were felt.  Somehow there was a seamless devotion interwoven between all of the people present.  Our local DAV chapter is very excited about helping veterans adjust to civilian life again.  They offer furniture, financial assistance and even provide transportation to doctor’s appointments for veterans. If you or someone you know needs this service please call 360-423-3125.

Retired Marine, Phyllis Paden spear-headed this event and never stopped drumming home the message that while some gave all, some come home with a lot less than they left home with and truly need assistance and understanding now. A huge part of the homeless population is made up of veterans and DAV would like to change that in the Cowlitz County area. A silent auction was held at the music festival and Stephen Chapman performed some of his original music. Stephen is an Iraq war veteran who was severely injured in the war. Everyone was thrilled with his performance!

We made our way around all the vendors at the music festival. We were drawn into Nancy’s booth via a lovely Norman Rockwell-flavored painting of a little girl playing with an older gentleman.  Later, we found out that the little girl was her daughter and the older gentleman was her brother who had spent some time in the military.  Nancy Wavra owns Wounded Productions. She produces everything from fine art to driftwood art.  Her husband served in the Navy and had two tours in Vietnam. She enjoys painting as much as she can.  She has had lots of family members serve in the military and thought having a booth at the music festival was a great thing to do.  She has won several awards for her paintings. One of her award-winning paintings is of a child and you can see and touch the innocence. There was no question as to if Nancy would attend this event as a vendor. She says she will proudly return next year.

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