A group of Jonesboro, Arkansas, community members held the first Rivers of Recovery fundraising event in the area to support the expansion of the Rivers of Recovery program in the region.
Spearheaded by our own Levi Crawford—former RoR participant and current RoR marketing director—the money raised will fund a RoR trip for six local veterans on the White River in April 2017.
A Veteran Friendly Community
A Jonesboro native, Levi served a tour with the Army National Guard in Iraq and later in Afghanistan. His Afghanistan tour was cut short in May 2010 when he was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. He received a Purple Heart for his service.
“Northeast Arkansas is the most veteran friendly area I’ve ever seen,” Levi said. “I’ll never forget coming home from my very first deployment to Iraq. When we got back, there were people on overpasses and lining the highways, waving flags. Right where we parked the bus, they strung one of the biggest flags I’ve ever seen between two fire trucks.”
That support was evident during the March 2017 banquet, which celebrated the vets and what they were fighting for, Levi said. Local businesses and community members sponsored tables for the events, including…
- SportsClips (a veteran owned business)
- O’Charley’s Restaurant
- ChemTrade Agri LLC
- Quail Forever
- Eagan Manufacturing
- Jonesboro Jaycees
- Darrin and Pam Moore—in memory of their son, Specialist Steven Tyler Redmond
Made Possible by the Generosity of Donors and Volunteers
Donors and people who signed up for monthly pledges to Rivers of Recovery were eligible for entry into a raffle for one of ten guns during the event.
Other local volunteers and businesses donated time, food, and in-kind services, including the NE Arkansas Brewers Association, Bistro on the Ridge, James Copeland, auctioneer Corey Rice, photographer Joey Glaub, and Cheers Unlimited.
“It’s a good community,” Levi said. “I’m thankful for the many volunteers and local businesses who made it possible.”
ROR donated leftover food to the Jonesboro Police Department and the Beck PRIDE Center—an organization that helps veterans and made it into a free luncheon for vets to come eat and socialize.
Finding a New Purpose for Vets in Arkansas
The funds will sponsor six local vets from units in Jonesboro and surrounding communities, including one unit tasked with route clearance in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s a rough job,” Levi explained, with the wisdom of someone who’s been there. “These trips help vets find a purpose and a new way to serve.”
Levi encouraged banquet attendees—and other RoR donors—to “find small ways to make a large impact in whatever you’re passionate about.”
Monthly pledges to Rivers of Recovery, for example, may only be $10-20/month for one person. But when that amount is multiplied by other people, Levi explained, “that’s an extra vet per month that we’re helping that we couldn’t help before.”
Watch for a follow-up blog about the April 2017 trip.