Go to G.I. Joe’s for sloppy joes
G.I. Joe’s Military Living History Museum is sponsoring its first ever Sloppy Joe fundraiser. The event is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. through 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, 2019.
“You will get a delicious Sloppy Joe sandwich with chips and a drink for just $5.00,” said Eric Cantu, the museum’s director. “We want to invite the public to visit our new location and to lend a financial hand to support our work here.”
G.I. Joe’s is now located at 1165 Hwy 11-55 South in Kinston. The military museum was once on Herritage Street, but increased rent necessitated the move to a new location. About the time the museum was ready to open at the Hwy 11-55 location, flooding from Hurricane Florence forced G. I. Joe’s to renovate the facility – again.
“You can eat in or take out,” Cantu said. “While you are here, visit the museum.”
G.I. Joe’s Museum is a project of Salute! A Tribute to Americas Veterans and is a 501c(3) organization. This living history museum receives no funding from local, state or federal governments.
“We keep the museum open from donations and fundraisers. We also use money we raise to pay for projects like the upcoming Veterans Weekend events set for November,” Cantu said.
G.I. Joe’s Military Museum celebrated its reopening on Thursday, Feb. 15, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Local officials and business leaders were on hand to honor the many veterans present and recognized the difficulties that Hurricane Florence posed in getting the new location ready.
At that event Cantu spoke to the crowd about the distinctiveness of G. I. Joe’s. In addition to serving as a museum, G.I. Joe’s is a place where veterans and their families can gather at any time to connect with others who understand what they have gone through. Veterans and family members can also find knowledgeable people to put them in touch with support organizations.
“G. I. Joe’s is a big deal,” Kinston Mayor Don Hardy, a Navy veteran, said at the ribbon cutting. “It is a centerpiece of military history for Kinston and Lenoir County … and a place where veterans can come and enjoy themselves and be among other veterans.”
In mid-August, a group of volunteers completed a new art studio at G.I. Joe’s. The new art program, under the direction of art instructor Molly B. Smith, provides one more piece in the museum’s overall attempt to provide a therapeutic environment for veterans and families.
Salute! and G.I. Joe’s are working on another fundraiser that focuses on honoring veterans. G.I. Joe’s is asking local citizens to sponsor flags to fly around the Walk of Honor near the Farmers Market, at the State Veterans Home on Hull Road, and at locations in Pink Hill and LaGrange. The flags will fly a week before and a week after Veteran’s Day.
To sponsor a flag, contact Ralph Smith at G.I. Joe’s at 252-686-5139 or stop by G.I. Joe’s Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. At that time, make a $10 donation either in memory or in honor of a specific veteran.
Of that amount, one dollar goes to the VFW’s Veterans’ Relief Fund. The other nine dollars will support G.I. Joe’s. Each $10 donation secures a U.S. flag, a poppy, and a ribbon recognizing the honoree. Time is crucial for accomplishing this mission, so do not delay.
Be prepared to provide basic information for the ribbon that accompanies the flag: honoree’s name, military branch, either the years or era he or she served, and your name as the person honoring the veteran. When I first participated, I immediately sponsored two flags: Henry S. Parker [my grandfather], United States Navy, just after World War I; and Bobby Dean Thurman [my uncle], United States Marine Corps, Korean War.
The goal is 1,000 sponsorships, which will generate $9,000 for G.I. Joe’s and $1,000 for the VFW’s Veterans’ Relief Fund. According to the VA database, Lenoir County has more than 4,500 living veterans. Imagine the financial support G.I. Joe’s could have if even half of those 4,500 vets could be honored during this observance.
Stop in for Sloppy Joes at G.I. Joe’s on Saturday – and sponsor a flag or two or three, too. The cause is certainly worthwhile.
Mike Parker is a columnist for Neuse News. You can reach him firstname.lastname@example.org.