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Country Club helps military officers association host drive-thru gift drive

Retired military officers Mike Pomponio, Mike Covell, Donna Culp, Vivianno Cisneros Wersel, John Culp and Rod Nunnelee thanked Patrick Necessary (holding plaque). Retired military officers Mike Pomponio, Mike Covell, Donna Culp, Vivianno Cisneros Wersel, John Culp and Rod Nunnelee thanked Patrick Necessary (holding plaque).

When the Western North Carolina chapter of the Military Officers Association of America approached Patrick Necessary about holding a drive-thru holiday gift drive for hospitalized veterans, the Hendersonville Country Club clubhouse manager jumped at the chance.

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 "I was just glad to say yes to something because we canceled 60 Christmas parties," Necessary said Wednesday.

With help from Necessary and the country club staff, the MOAA hosted the event on Dec. 9.

"The day of the event, our board members helping with the logistics of the event received support above and beyond the level originally requested," said Donna Culp, a retired Air Force captain who is the WNC chapter president. "The front lobby area was not only set up with tables for staging and sorting donations, but Patrick and several of the HCC staff made contributions as well. Adorned with Christmas lights and Christmas music playing, a beautiful table set up at the club portico with our chapter banner already attached, we couldn't have asked for more."

Several MOAA chapter members returned to the club Wednesday to honor and thank Necessary and the club staff for their partnership in making the charity event a success.

The Country Club has hosted the WNC chapter of the association for many of its 51 years. Before the Covid-19 shutdown of social gatherings, the chapter held its quarterly meetings and board meetings at the country club.

"Since COVID, we have suspended all our in-person meetings, relying on email and remote platforms to continue business as usual," Culp said. "Hendersonville Country Club stepped up to support what was a last-minute idea to serve our veterans in the care of Charles George VA Medical Center."

The drive-thru collection brought in an estimated 300-400 pounds of much-needed items and $1,000 in cash that MOAA members delivered to the VA hospital  that same day.

An affiliate of national MOAA, the WNC chapter is made up of 14 counties in the region. With a motto of "Never Stop Serving," the organization is dedicated to maintaining a strong national defense and ensuring that the nation keeps its commitments to currently serving, retired, and former members of the uniformed services and their families and survivors. Membership is open to those who hold or have ever held a warrant or commission in any component of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Space Force, Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and their surviving spouses.