Create Buckhannon raised approximately $2,400 through a BBQ chicken dinner fundraiser they held Oct. 24 for the Band of Brothers' efforts to raise money to bring a seasonal Christmastime celebration to local nursing homes. Pictured, from left, are Band of Brothers member John Simons, Melodie Stemple with Create Buckhannon, Band of Brothers member Larry Williams and Band of Brothers member Al Tucker. / Photo by Katie Kuba

Band of Brothers’ fundraiser to bring Christmas cheer to nursing homes making progress

BUCKHANNON – Upshur County’s Band of Brothers are selling their annual West Virginia Scenic Calendars to help nursing homes orchestrate a Christmastime event for their residents.

Band of Brothers member Al Tucker attended the Thursday, Oct. 29 Upshur County Commission meeting to tell the commissioners about their fundraising mission this year.

“We talked about it, we prayed on it, and it really came to us quite quickly,” Tucker said. “We’ve all been hit very hard in this pandemic: Everything is more difficult, but there are people in every community living in a nursing home, and maybe living is not the right word because living has some joy to it, and they don’t have any joy at the moment.”

“The loneliness and the sadness and the depression that’s taking places that I hear about through talking with some of the people I have been speaking with, it breaks your heart,” Tucker added.

There isn’t a lot the brothers can do personally, but they can help the homes support their residents, he said.

“There’s not a lot we can do because you can’t go visit them, you can’t touch them, you can’t hug them, so we asked the nursing homes, ‘If we gave you some money, could you do something around Christmas time?”’ Tucker said. “The response for that is overwhelming – they’re really excited, and we’ve talked to three so far.”

The Band of Brothers, a local Christian men’s group, is consequently raising money through their traditional West Virginia Scenic Calendar sale, and Tucker said the pandemic has made it more difficult. (All new photos appear in the 2021 West Virginia Scenic Calendar.)

“I can’t go to Rotary, I can’t go to Chamber of Commerce, but I talked to Rotary clubs from Randolph County to Wetzel County, and people always respond,” Tucker said. “Fortunately, I can come here and get a little publicity, get the word out, so that’s what we’re trying to do is get the word out using Facebook.”

He said there are about 123 nursing homes in West Virginia, and they are hoping to help 15. Those already on board include Holbrook on the Hill nursing home in Buckhannon, the nursing home on the third floor of WVU Medicine St. Joseph’s Hospital and the West Virginia Veteran’s Nursing Home in Clarksburg.

“I will tell you we’re about halfway in our fundraising right now, so we could stop right now,” he said. “We can take care of nursing homes for the veterans and St. Joe’s, but we need to love our neighbors too,” Tucker said. ‘We’re going to try and reach out to our neighbors in Randolph County, Barbour County, Taylor County and surrounding counties.”

They were concerned they wouldn’t sell enough calendars, but the fundraiser has actually been going well.

“I didn’t think we would sell 500 calendars, but we’re at 500 calendars already and still counting,” Tucker said. “It is really resonating with people.”

The Band of Brothers have also started partnering with local businesses and organizations, such as Create Buckhannon.

“Buck Edwards said, ‘we can help too,’ and Create Buckhannon has helped enhance our campaign,” Tucker said. “They helped just last Saturday with a chicken dinner sale and we raised $2400, and all that $2,400 is going to the Veteran’s Nursing Home.”

Tucker said he appreciated Upshur County’s support throughout the years and especially now.

“Upshur County is such a gracious, generous, giving community. How do we know that? You have supported us for four years in the past, and you’re showing it again, so we want to expand that,” Tucker said. “We can help those 15 nursing homes – maybe 20.”

To volunteer to sell calendars contact Tucker via email at alanandliva@aol.com. You can even purchase one to assist with the fundraiser through My Buckhannon’s online store by clicking here.

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