TISHOMINGO — For years the Johnston County Veterans Center Association has been pressing on to reach its goal of building a new Veterans Center and community emergency shelter.
Little by little they get closer with various fundraisers, whether it’s raffling off firearms or, currently, raffling off a three-day guided whitetail deer hunt.
“It’s an undertaking and I’ve very proud to be a part of it,” said Stan Sewell, president of the Johnston County Veterans Center Association, of the long-term fundraising efforts.
To date, Sewell said they’ve raised approximately $360,000 in cash, but with in-kind donations they likely have somewhere around $450,000. The building will cost upwards of $1 million and members of the association have done all they can do to prepare for the construction of it.
“We have all the plans, we’ve paid the architects,” Sewell said. “We have the water and everything, it’s installed up to the building. We’ve acquired the property.  
“We’ve gone a long ways in about six years,” he said, adding they have had a lot of support from the community and he’s proud of the work the handful of men have accomplished thus far.
Tickets for their current fundraiser, the guided, rifle-only hunt, will be sold until a drawing on Nov. 11. The winner and guide will then make arrangements for dates during the 2016 rifle season, Nov. 19 through Dec. 4.  
The hunt will take place on a privately-owned ranch with proven whitetails near Tishomingo. The guided hunt has an estimated value of $2,500 to $5,000, a member of the association said.
In addition to a three-day hunt, there will also be a free wild game processing and shoulder mount of the hunter’s trophy taken from the hunt provided by a local taxidermist. Estimated value of the taxidermy work is between $100 to $500.
At $25 per raffle ticket, the association is hoping it will give their fundraising efforts another boost to push them closer to its goal. In addition to fundraisers, the association also takes donations. Anything donated is tax deductible, as they are a 501c3.
The association also has a matching grant for up to $250,000, Sewell said. The proposed plans are for a 5,000 square-foot building complete with an emergency shelter and basement. The facility will be located at 108 S. Kemp Ave., Tishomingo.
The facility would not only serve veterans in the area, as they plan to have a veterans service worker to help with filing claims and answer questions, but they want it to serve the community as a whole, as well.
Sewell said the facility could be used for holding meetings, family reunions and even for educational displays related to the military. The community previously had a VFW Post near Milburn, but the facility burned down in 2008 destroying records, memorabilia and displays.
From fight suits to what the meaning of POW/MIA is, Sewell said they want to inform the public, young and old.
“(We want) to tell about wars and the dedication and contribution men and women have given their country. It’s lacking today,” he said.
Call Treasurer Delbert Gray at (580) 371-8343 for information about ticket purchase locations for the guided hunt or to make a donation to the Veterans Center Association.