POMEROY — Bill Brothers had a vision to offer vouchers to veterans at the Meigs County Farmers’ Market.
Brothers is himself a veteran, having served in the Marine Corps Special Forces from 1988 through 1992. He was deployed with his unit during the Gulf War (1990-1991), and took part in Operation Desert Storm.
He currently has the role of Vice President of the Market, and according to Market Manager Stephanie Rife, suggested the idea of vouchers as a way of acknowledging veterans for their service.
He was very committed to the project, and after receiving a grant from the Disciple Making Church committee, the decision was made to use a portion of the funds to bring his dream to fruition.
“It was decided to use $200 to begin the program that would offer vouchers in the amount of $10 each. It wasn’t a lot, but it was a way of showing appreciation for their service,” Rife said. “Bill was responsible for making veterans aware of the program, and for the distribution of the vouchers. It was all Bill, his idea, his vision, he had it in his heart to do something for veterans, and the grant money enabled the beginning of the veterans vouchers.”
Rife said that neither Brothers or any member of the market board solicited donations from the community, so they were very surprised when people began asking how they could contribute to the program.
Brothers was pleased with the community response, and happy the donations would allow additional vouchers to be distributed. By the end of the Market season, a total of 116 vouchers had been given to veterans.
“The community seemed called to sponsor the veterans vouchers. Bill never asked, people just showed up offering to donate,” said Rife.
She believes the community wants to be part of something good, and Brothers’ project gave many that opportunity.
“He was so passionate about the vouchers, and I think that, and his dedication, inspired others.”
The $200 “seed money” grew over the summer into a total of $1,160 through the generosity of the community, and Brothers dedication in bringing the vouchers to the veterans.
Even though it was Brothers’ idea and effort that brought the program into existence, he is reluctant to take credit and instead is content that the program was able to serve veterans in the Market community.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.