By Mark Johnson
Gov. Phil Scott’s first donation from the proceeds of his inaugural ball is a motorcycle contributed to a veterans group that plans to raffle off the bike to support its programs.
Scott made the donation last week, the first of a half dozen he will make to Vermont organizations from the proceeds of his inaugural celebration. The event was the largest in state history with 1,200 in attendance and it raised nearly $200,000.
The motorcycle went to the Vermont Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association and Scott suggested the group set aside enough profit from its raffle to purchase another next year and likewise in future years to allow the fundraising event to go on in perpetuity.
The governor said the charitable organization he set up to manage distributing the inaugural funds would also give money this fall to the Vermont National Guard’s military family programs, organizations that support returning veterans and their families, and a project to honor those who sacrificed their lives in service to this country. Scott’s inaugural gala was held in a helicopter hangar at the Vermont Air Guard complex in South Burlington.
The motorcycle being raffled is a 2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim purchased for $18,000. The combat veterans association hopes to raise up to $35,000 selling 699 tickets for $50 each. The organization has three chapters in Vermont that help veterans and families in financial need.
At an event at the Champlain Valley Fair last Thursday, surrounded by members of the group, Scott noted his father had been disabled by his service in World War II and died when Scott was 11.
The governor said helping veterans groups is “a cause close to my heart” because of his father.
“I’m pleased that we are able to support a range of causes, aiming to identify a diverse group of organizations that support a host of needs for our veterans, active military and their families,” Scott said. “We know we can never repay them for their service, but hope by making contributions to provide important services we can make a difference in their lives and for their families.”
Kurt Merriman, Vermont state representative for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, thanked Scott for the contribution to the organization whose mission, he said, is “Vets helping vets.”