Cleveland's Hardee's Restaurant on Paul Huff Parkway has once again set the pace for the chain's Stars for Heroes fundraiser, to assist veterans and veteran families.Hardee's franchise locations in …
Cleveland's Hardee's Restaurant on Paul Huff Parkway has once again set the pace for the chain's Stars for Heroes fundraiser, to assist veterans and veteran families.
Hardee's franchise locations in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia conduct the promotion each year, where restaurant employees sell booklets for $1, and patrons receive coupons for restaurant offerings in return.
This region's Hardee's Franchise Association established a record this year.
Marketing Vice President Brenda Eckard said the goal was to raise $20,000, and they surpassed it by raising $26,000.
All proceeds go to help the special needs of military veterans and their families, in various ways.
Hardee's national charity beneficiaries receive 50 percent of these funds, while the remaining 50 percent goes to local or regional charities.
A majority portion of the region's $13,000 this year ($10,000) was allocated to a project very dear to local veterans and veteran organizations — the Cleveland/Bradley State Veterans Home, whose reality has been a mission of the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council for more than a decade.
The remaining $3,000 was donated to the Tennessee Fisher House on the campus of the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, which has received funds from the Hardee's promotion over the past few years.
Julia Scoggins of Cleveland's J&S Restaurants, presented the $10,000 donation to co-chairs of the Veterans Home Council, Sid Heidel and Mark Hall.
The $3,000 check went to Tennessee Fisher House Board Vice Chairman Don Wright, who, after being delayed by interstate traffic, arrived in Cleveland just before Thursday's presentation.
Scoggins and several community dignitaries made comments.
"It's such an honor for us," Scoggins said. "We do the Stars for Heroes every year, and this year we're excited that the money will go to our proposed veterans home here in Cleveland."
She added that the Paul Huff Hardee's raised more than $2,000 to pace all Hardee's locations.
Heidel said, "The proposed Bradley County/Cleveland veterans home has been a group effort since 2006. We've all banded together, and we hope Washington, D.C., will take notice of events like this."
Hall echoed Heidel's comments, and added, "Things like this get the momentum going. We have all the pieces in place, and we're shovel ready. We will continue to work, as long as a veteran needs a bed."
State Rep. Kevin Brooks said the veterans home pursuit has been "an amazing and long effort, and this community has done amazing things."
Brooks added that the state recently sent a letter to the secretary of Veterans Affairs in Washington, in an effort to speed up the process of getting federal funding.
"There are many heroes in this group, including Hardee's and the Johnson family," Brooks said in conclusion.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said, "We've done all we were asked to do, and more."
Larry McDaris of the Veterans Affairs Office talked about when the veterans home idea was born.
"I received a telephone in my office, and the caller asked if I knew there was $3 million (anonymous) dollars available for a veterans home in Bradley County," McDaris said.
"That kind of got the ball rolling; the county and city stepped up along with everyone else, and it's grown," he said.
Others at Thursday's program were Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, state Rep. Dan Howell, Veteran Affairs Officer Joe Davis, Mark Johnson and Brad Scoggins of J&S Restaurant, and representatives of other vets organizations.
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