by Sandi Huddleston-Edwards

HUNTERSVILLE – For the North Mecklenburg Woman’s Club, purple hearts are as important as the iconic red and pink hearts of Valentine’s Day.

The women will host an event March 9 to raise money for Purple Heart Homes, a nonprofit that provides assistance to veterans.

“Viva Las Vegas,” a fun-filled night with casino games, heavy appetizers, signature drinks, prizes and a live band, takes place 7-11 p.m. at Huntersville’s Northstone Country Club.

“We believe it’s important for those who are so blessed to give back to our communities,” said Betty Bradley, vice president of the woman’s club communications. “We’re happy to support Purple Heart Homes.”

In 2008, two seriously injured veterans, Staff Sgt. Dale Beatty and Spc. John Gallina, founded Purple Heart Homes to provide “personalized housing solutions for Service Connected Disabled Veterans and their families. ... These solutions can range from remodeling an existing home ... to creating an entire living space from the ground up,” according to the organization’s website.

“We’ve approved a new project in Mooresville for the home of Petty Officer Michael Benfield and his family. We’re hoping to get early funding, so we can begin this project before summer,” said Jennifer Hogan, who handles applications for Purple Heart Homes.

With 23 years of honorable service, Benfield is a disabled veteran, who served in the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He’s an Aviation Electronics Technician. Now unable to manage stairs, he needs an easily accessible shower installed in an existing downstairs bathroom.

“We’re grateful. The ‘Viva Las Vegas’ proceeds will help us provide safe living environments that are barrier-free for veterans and their caretakers, so they can live comfortably in their homes and not have to consider other alternatives,” Vicki Thomas, PHH regional director of media relations, said.

Member Cheryl Burwell concurred.

“I’ve never been in an organization that is as dedicated to giving back to the community as is NMWC. It’s wonderful to be a part,” she said.

Want to help?

The North Mecklenburg Woman’s Club’s casino night will raise money for Purple Heart Homes, which helps veterans with home repairs and new construction. Tickets for the March 9 event are available in advance from Janet by email at jacsjo@bellsouth.net, for $125 for a couple or $75 for singles.

For more information, visit www.
nmwclub.org or www.purpleheart
homes.org.