According to the Special Forces Charitable Trust’s President Terry English, United States Special Forces troops are deployed at a higher rate and suffer more casualties per capita than any other division of the American military. It’s because of this, English says, that it’s crucial to provide support to these soldiers and their families at home. On Friday night in Sparta, a very special dinner event was held to raise money for those very special troops.
The dinner was the brainchild of Lawrence Wilson, owner of Velumcore Training in Sparta, which specializes in trauma and security training. Wilson, who is a native of Australia, spent three decades in the international security business before making his home in Sussex County with his wife and children. He met English, a retired Green Beret and Vietnam veteran, while conducting a medical trauma training session at Hudson Farm.
English is a member at the private hunt club, and he invited Wilson to join him and others from the Charitable Trust at a CAPEX event at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. It was at that event that Wilson decided he had to do something to contribute to the cause.
“It was an amazing weekend,” he said, “I met Gold Star families and Special Forces veterans. These aren’t the people we see on the silver screen. These are real-life heroes.”
Calling the Green Berets "quiet achievers," Wilson set about planning an event to bring people together in Sussex County, knowing that the patriotic spirit of the area would be the perfect place to raise money for the Trust. Wilson partnered with friend and Mohawk House owner Steve Scro and Hudson Farm manager Steve Polanish to put together an evening of food, entertainment, and prizes.
“We all have a vested interest in keeping America safe, and protecting our military," he said. "We all enjoy the comforts of home because of our hard-working troops. It’s only fair we do our part to give back to them.”
English attended the dinner and said he was overwhelmed with the generosity shown by the attendees.
“Sparta really outdid itself and Sussex County has so many people who really believe in our troops and want to show support," he said.
English said the funds will assist the Special Forces Charitable Trust’s mission of providing tragedy assistance and family support.
“We’ve lost ten Special Forces soldiers already in 2019,” English said, “When these soldiers are deployed, they know where they are, and they know their threat level. Their families are left at home, on guard for the worst, 24/7.”
The Special Forces Charitable Fund also makes sure to strengthen families in other ways.
“We provide education grants to Special Forces spouses, that they can use for anything from college to vocational training to getting a CDL,” English said. “Anything that can help the families be more self-sufficient here at home.”
English said the Trust also conducts Resiliency Retreats; these gatherings provide counseling and training to Special Forces troops, veterans and their families on how to deal with frequent and lengthy deployment, financial uncertainty, and emotional distress.
“We’d like to think these retreats have saved many a marriage and family,” he said.
Friday’s dinner, which raised nearly $30,000, was a precursor to a larger event to be held in October of 2020. A dinner will be held again with a unique auction- the chance to take part in a sport shooting event the following day with Special Forces troops at Hudson Farm.
“It’s going to be an amazing weekend,” Wilson said, “People will have the chance to team up with Green Berets and participate in a clay shoot and a three-gun (pistol, rifle, shotgun) run and gun event. We’ll also have some other really awesome experience prizes people can bid on- things that money would normally never be able to buy.”
English is grateful for the support of Wilson, and the generosity of Steve Scro and Hudson Farm for opening up their facilities for these events.
“This dinner was incredible, and we’re already looking forward to next year,” English said, “And I hope that we can get other agencies involved in the sport shoot. We’d love to have teams from local law enforcement join us, so we can have a day side-by-side with others who put their lives on the line every day.”
The dates for next year’s fundraiser are set for Friday, Oct 29, 2020 for dinner at the Mohawk House and Saturday, Oct 30, 2020 for the sport shoot at Hudson Farm. For more information on the Special Forces Charitable Trust, their missions and other upcoming events, visit www.specialforcescharitabletrust.org.