Butch and Linda Elzey have been involved for years with many fundraisers for veterans and are known for their dedication to serving the men and women who have served our country in the United States military. Two years ago, the couple began Troops Barbecue and Catering business to show their appreciation for these individuals by dedicating 5% of the business’ gross income to the veteran community.
“A lot of people forget about the soldiers, especially the older vets,” said Butch. “These kids have been through everything and they have to go through hell to get what they earned.”
With no military background himself, Elzey began helping veterans when he became fired up about what one United States Senator from Nevada said about the war in Iraq on national television seven years ago. This was Senator Harry Reid. He declared that the “war is lost.” Later that morning when Elzey saw four Army members in the local Wawa, he decided to buy them all lunch to show his support.
From there on out, Elzey helped create the Delaware Community Appreciation Group, which to date has raised over $200,000 for local veterans and their families in just 5 years. The involvement of the Elzey’s goes beyond just the events though, Butch has counseled over 100 veterans, from his home state of Delaware to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) located in Washington, D.C.
“It’s a lot of work, a lot of fun and memories,” said Elzey. Elzey keeps track of the young veterans that he helps. Brandon Marco, a veteran whose progress Elzey has watched since they met at WRAMC , has shown how humor can be applied in any situation. Marco, who has all prosthetic limbs, was asked by Butch if he could give him a hand, to which Marco responded “Hell, give me two!” Ultimately what Elzey teaches the veterans he meets is to “leave here with your head up. Leave here fighting.”
On Friday, August 3, the the Elzeys will show their support for local veterans of all ages and their service at the Arbor Management event located at The Home of the Brave just south of Milford. Over 500 veterans and family members are expected to attend. Founded in 1992 as a non-profit by eight Vietnam Combat Veterans, The Home of the Brave hosts up to 15 veteran residents, “who have fallen since their return to civilian life and are now homeless,”. Its main goal is to “assist veterans in gaining control of their lives” by offering “a hand up, not a hand out.”
“The government unfortunately doesn’t take care of veterans, but a lot of people have stepped up,” Elzey said. “Helping the veterans is something you do from your heart, and you don’t have to be recognized for it.”