Bracken County Middle School students donate $700 to the Mains-Quinlin VFW post in Augusta.

BROOKSVILLE -- Students at Bracken County Middle School recently donated $700 to the Mains-Quinlin Veterans of Foreign Wars post of Augusta.

Hank Krift, a sixth grader at BCMS, said the students heard about the financial problems at the VFW hall and knew they wanted to help.

"We wanted to do the penny drive to collect money for the veterans," he said. "The first day we started, Mr. King said it was for the veterans so we knew it was a good cause."

According to Krift, the students competed with other classrooms to see who could collect the most money.

Krift said the students did not have a monetary goal. They just knew they wanted to raise money.

"We knew we wanted to raise a whole bunch of money," he said. "We knew it was an important cause so we wanted to raise whatever we could."

Teacher Melissa Walters said she decided to do a penny war in order to get the kids more heavily involved in the donating process.

"Penny wars take a lot of work, but it gets the kids excited," she said. "Any parent can cut a check or give money to donate, but when it comes to change, the kids are the ones donating it. They looked for the change, brought it in and there was some deep thought put into their strategies. They were excited about it."

According to Walters, all of the classrooms were involved.

"It was homeroom verses homeroom," she said.

Lillian Monroe said she helped participate in the penny drive because of how important it was to help the veterans.

"We knew it was for a good cause," she said. "We wanted to help. Our parents really helped out, too, because they knew it was important. It felt good to give back to people who fought for our freedom."

Superintendent Jeff Aulick said he was proud of students for stepping up.

"Very proud that our staff and students took on the initiative to give back to a very deserving organization," he said. "This is a way they can honor their sacrifice in our school."

Any Reynolds, with the VFW, said the donations and support the organization has received from the community and the Bracken County School District has been tremendous.

"There aren't enough words to express how grateful we are for the support we've received from the community, the school district and everyone. It's been tremendous and we're so thankful."

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According to Reynolds, the VFW has received more than $30,000 from their benefit and donations from the community.

The money will be used to make repairs to the building and keep the doors open.

"We are going to be putting in some new LED lighting fixtures and fixing the front and back doors," he said. "Those are repairs we've really needed. The money is going to go to keep our doors open."

In February, Reynolds said it costs roughly $1,000 a month to maintain the building if the building is never used.

"That amount is if we don't even open the doors," he said. "We have electric, gas and insurance. We have to maintain insurance so we can rent the building out when people want to use it. People don't seem to realize that we don't receive any funding from a national agency. We are self-sufficient."

Anyone interested in donating to the VFW can do so by visiting the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/save-augusta-vfw-post-9535 or by visiting the US Bank.

"We have an account set up for anyone who doesn't feel comfortable, or can't, donate on the GoFundMe page," Reynolds said.


Christy Howell-Hoots is a reporter for The Ledger Independent newspaper, covering Bracken County

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