Front Royal Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1860 is continuing its efforts to raise funds to rebuild its headquarter following a fire in 2015.
The nonprofit organization will continue that effort through a raffle of two vehicles from Shenandoah Ford, with all proceeds going straight to funding the new post headquarters. The drawing for the raffle is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Shenandoah Ford in Front Royal.
Mark Brown, the junior vice commander of the VFW post, said the organization has been spending the last few months selling tickets for the raffle.
“We want to get the word out on what we’re doing,” he said.
The post’s headquarters at 1850 N. Royal Ave. was severely damaged by a fire on July 11, 2015. The fire was ultimately determined to be an arson fire. Lesley Rose Deavers, of Front Royal, was sentenced to five years in prison in mid-June for the arson and also for embezzling funds from the VFW, where she worked part-time to clean the facility and volunteered to run the club operation. Deavers was ordered by the court to pay $62,500 in fines and $40,000 in restitution to the VFW.
As of press time Thursday, around 350 tickets for the raffle had been sold. Brown said that the VFW has been trying to sell raffle tickets at various fairs and events throughout the Shenandoah Valley. He said the post has been discouraged by the lack of raffle ticket sales.
“We couldn’t attract the buyers,” he said. “We don’t know why.”
Brown said the VFW was able to negotiate with Shenandoah Ford to raffle off two cars, with the VFW paying $49,722 for the vehicles. He said that, through the deal with Shenandoah Ford, the post stood to make $186,000 if all 5,000 tickets were sold.
The post is expected to see a loss of $30,000 on the endeavor. Brown said it would cost around $1,250,000 to rebuild the headquarters.
He said the VFW was considering extending the raffle, but the organization thought it would be too difficult with refiling the raffle application with the Virginia Gaming Commission and spending more on marketing the raffle.
“We’ve made commitments to people who bought tickets,” he said. “We’re going to go through with it even if it hurts us. We want to keep our word.”
Brown said he will be selling raffle tickets at Shenandoah Ford from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, with one ticket costing $50. Tickets can also be purchased online until noon Saturday at www.vfw1860.org/Raffle.