HAWLEY, PA — VetStock is a local not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 with the sole mission of “raising funds in order to support those veteran organizations that have not …
HAWLEY, PA — VetStock is a local not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 with the sole mission of “raising funds in order to support those veteran organizations that have not developed strong local fundraising efforts in both Pike and Monroe counties, and the greater Northeast PA region.”
On August 32, VetStock lived up to their motto, “Vets Helping Vets,” by continuing their ongoing partnership with Woodloch Resort in supporting the seventh annual Folds of Honor Golf Classic at the Country Club at Woodloch Springs.
Since its inception, VetStock has contributed more than $25,000 to Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted housing across the country for severely injured post 9/11 vets, donated and coordinated the transportation of the “Wall of Remembrance” to the Matamoras Veterans Park, provided equipment to American Legion Post 514 in Bushkill, donated funds to the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, and other worthwhile causes.
Taking center stage at the annual Folds of Honor golf tourney was the “Spartan Sword,” an interpretation of the short sword that, as legend says, was carried into the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. by King Leonidas of Sparta, leader of the legendary “300” in their legendary clash-of-arms against the Achaemenid Empire of Xerxes during the second Persian invasion of Greece.
The modern-day xiphos (Greek short sword) was created when retired U.S. Marine LT Steve “Luker” Danyluk and Dan Prince, a retired NYFD firefighter and fellow vet, started talking about 25 pounds of steel fragments recovered from the destruction of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.
The sword stands as a symbol of remembrance of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America, as well as bringing attention to the sobering statistic that 22 veterans and a reported 12 first responders die by their own hands each day, day after day, week after week, month after month, year-by-year, as the seasons pass and the epidemic of suicide continues.
In his introductory remarks to the crowd before they took to the course, John Pillar, PGA golf pro and director of golf at Woodloch Springs, said, “It’s about transformation... taking this twisted steel that was part of our nation’s greatest tragedy and turning it into something beautiful: a weapon of healing rather than a weapon of destruction.”
Prince, a veteran of the U.S, Coast Guard, often visited injured vets at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD carrying with him the sacred 25 pounds of scrap metal.
Today, he carries the Spartan Sword to veterans and first responder events all over the land.
“There are so many American Patriots here today, something we don’t see much anymore,” he said in his address to the golfers.
“My mission is to have a mission for my warfighter family... it’s about suicide awareness, 22 vets and 12 first responders a day, which is totally unacceptable.”
Following Pillar and Prince’s remarks, retired Master SGT recited the Spartan Pledge, created by Iraq War veteran Boone Cutler after talking with a friend about the suicide of a mutual friend and comrade-in-arms.