On Friday, March, 1, Butch Elzey, owner of Fleet Refinishing and Troops Barbecue, who enjoys surprising local veterans with his generosity, was surprised himself when several area veterans presented him with a plaque at Fleet Refinishing. Elzey, who ran the local veteran support group, Delaware Community Appreciation Group, is an outspoken supporter of veterans in the area.
“We cannot repay you for what you have done to help us and others like us, when we needed help the most,” said Harry Robertson, a Vietnam veteran. Robertson, along with Douglas Waople and Alan Wray, presented a plaque to Elzey proclaiming him a “Real Hero,” not only for the monetary support DCAG provides to area veterans, but for being a spokesperson for the many veterans whose voice is not heard.
“When I get a call from a veteran who is about to be evicted, or have their lights turned off because of slow action on the part of the VA, my blood boils,” Elzey said. “These guys and girls served their country, and may have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. It is tough for many of them to transition back into the real world after serving overseas, and we should be doing everything we can as a community to help them with that transition.”
Elzey dislikes being praised for what he does, despite the fact that he and his wife, Linda, have raised more than $200,000 to help support local veterans in the area over the past few years. In addition to providing assistance when he can to help veterans who are struggling to make ends meet, Elzey counsels veterans whenever possible, even traveling to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC to provide assistance. While at Walter Reed on one visit, Elzey met and became close with Brendan Marrocco, the US Iraq War veteran who recently received a double arm transplant.
“Butch not only talks the talk, he walks the walk,” Robertson says. “He never wants recognition for what he does, but more people need to know how generous he is. A lot of the money he hands over to veterans, he takes out of his own pocket. I am proud to call him a friend.”