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Vietnam Vets to host annual Benefit Run

Manning's local chapter dedicated to Vietnam Veterans will be back for their annual Benefit Run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, starting and ending at Lakevue Landing, 1543 Camp Shelor Road in Manning. The Manning Chapter 960 of the Vietnam Veterans of America are eschewing the term "poker run" for the first time this year, going for Benefit Run instead, at the behest of the State Law Enforcement Division, according to fundraising Chairman Dennis Reynolds. "They can use any vehicle they want, whether on water or land," said Reynolds. "We start and end at Lakevue Landing, and they will have to visit other spots throughout the run." But if you already have an entry form and have registered, you can really start anywhere you want, he said. "There will be a karaoke band and cash prizes for those who earn all six stamps at the finish," Reynolds said. There is a $10 fee to enter the run. The fee helps with the Vietnam Veterans of America chapter's contributions to various charities throughout the county, including an annual scholarship. "We make our money not from the participation fee, but from donations from the 144 sponsors from Clarendon and Sumter counties," Reynolds said. "These are wonderful people who sponsor us by placing ads in our sponsorships book. We set this money aside, and it is used for the scholarship and to help not just Vietnam veterans, but all veterans."

Reynolds said Manning is blessed to be one of nine chapters in South Carolina. "There is not a chapter in Sumter, Florence or anywhere close," Reynolds said. Aside from the club's scholarships, funds are used to take veterans to VA hospitals and to help with veterans' car repairs, hot water heaters and home repairs. "There are two scholarship prizes - $1,500 and $1,000 - given each year," said Reynolds. The scholarships are named after Robbie Hodge, one of the "fallen heroes" of the local chapter. This year's winners included Callie Elizabeth Graham, winner of the $1,500 scholarship, and Josey L. Pack, winner of the $1,000 scholarship. Both students will studying nursing in college. For more information on Saturday's benefit run, or to donate, call (803) 478-4300 or (803) 460-8551.


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