COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - There are nearly 10,000 National Guardsmen in South Carolina.
They need our help to stay strong physically, mentally and socially so they can turn around and help us when needed. The South Carolina Military Department has been visionary over the last several years in creating significant programs that support service members, veterans, and their families.
These programs are critical to the overall well-being of the military community. Though associated with the military, they're not federally funded and so the programs require donations.
Barbara Livingston and Chaplain Steve Shugart are with the South Carolina National Guard Foundation (SCNGF). The organization has started a campaign to help fund the needed programs for the Guard.
You can attend the upcoming fundraiser, Celebration of Freedom, Friday, Nov. 10.
Adjutant General Bob Livingston is the host with special guests Governor Henry McMaster, Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Joe Wilson, S.C. National Guard Legislative Caucus and Todd Ellis, the radio voice of the Gamecocks.
The 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. event will be held at 1727 Hampton Street in downtown Columbia.
The South Carolina National Guard Foundation is a 501(c) 3 organization whose mission is to support, promote and defend South Carolina Guardsmen and their families. These citizen/soldiers have always been there to courageously shoulder the burden of protecting and defending our state and nation from all enemies.
The South Carolina Army and Air National Guard gave almost continuous deployment, fighting side by side with their active duty counterparts on the front lines of battle.
In addition, Guardsmen serve in times of natural disasters. For example, South Carolina Guardsmen recently mobilized to serve our state when Hurricane Matthew struck and caused massive devastation. These lengthy deployments add financial, emotional, and spiritual stress to Guardsmen and their families which they shoulder without complaint. The South Carolina National Guard Foundation works to ease these burdens.
The Foundation works to provide employment opportunities, assistance during emergencies, financial assistance for higher education, and counseling for PTSD and other deployment-related stresses.
Suicide prevention is one of our more pressing problems. Supporting our Guard soldiers, airman and their families help them stay focused on doing what they're trained to do – accomplish the mission.
In the past year, 300 South Carolina Guardsmen were deployed and 400 are scheduled to deploy in 2017. This impacts on average 700 families and135 requested scholarships with 69 gr anted. The average scholarship is $1,000 with a total of $70,000 each year being distributed for higher education.
In addition, the Foundation wants to extend its programs to provide suicide training, PTSD counseling, emergency family support services, post-deployment seminars and employment opportunities through the Operation Palmetto Employment.
To achieve these goals, they need to raise at least $300,000 every year. Money raised will be put toward new and existing programs making it possible to start an endowment.
For more information on the South Carolina National Guard Foundation, visit http://www.scngf.org.