Bethel VFW Post 10041 makes donation for BSAR airboat

The VFW Post 10041 supports Bethel Search and Rescue through a generous donation at last weekend's Thanksgiving Fundraiser. VFW Post Commander Henry Hunter presents the donation to BSAR. photo by Greg Lincoln

by Delta Discovery Staff

The Bethel VFW Post 10041 members made a generous monetary donation to the Bethel Search and Rescue (BSAR) group during their annual Thanksgiving fundraiser this past Saturday.

The donation is $80,000 and will go towards BSAR’s to purchase an airboat to use during river ice water rescues and other lifesaving and recovery missions.

The donation was a pleasant and most welcomed surprise for BSAR folks and those attending the fiddlefest fundraiser.

“VFW MENS 10041 of Bethel brought us much closer to our goal of purchasing an Airboat by donating $80,000.00!!!! Wow!!!!!” wrote BSAR member Perry Barr. “We at BSAR are extremely thankful for our local support!!!! This just occurred at the second day of our Fiddle fundraiser!!! Thank you VFW mens 10041!!!!!!!”

“We donated to the search and rescue so that they would be able to get a good start on buying their airboat,” said VFW Post member Buck Bukowski. “They came to the VFW and they gave us a presentation when they were seeking donations and in that presentation we saw BSAR guys with a rope tied around their waist crawling out onto thin ice to rescue somebody that was still alive in the water and he was holding onto somebody that had already deceased but he didn’t let him fall under the ice. The guys with the ropes on risk their lives to save other lives.”

Bukowski and the other VFW members sat there in the VFW and watched this presentation and decided that there is no reason for BSAR not to have this. The search and rescue also said they had a few pledges but no money yet.

“So we decided to give this big chunk. I think they said it was $120,000 for the airboat. So we gave them $80,000 and then maybe all the other entities that normally donate will be able to donate some now that they see that there is a big chunk ready and we are going to get this thing. They can join in and help get it here sooner,” said Bukowski.

Chills of gratitude and thanksgiving filled the gym during the presentation. Some could not contain their emotions.

“Our commander Henry Hunter speaks in front of crowds all the time and he can do it just fine but tonight he said he was nervous and he was choked up,” said Bukowski. “We kept it a secret as to how much we were going to give. Only the guys who were at the meeting knew. Even the rest of the VFW didn’t know how much it was going to be. It was a pretty good surprise and it was the biggest amount the VFW ever donated.”

The VFW really appreciates what BSAR does.

“They are the real heroes of this community,” Bukowski said.