BUCKHANNON – The Band of Brothers group plans to help build ramps and other accessibility features people might not be able to afford with the funds from their annual West Virginia Scenic Calendar sale.
Al Tucker, a member of the Christian men’s group, attended the Oct. 19 Upshur County Commission meeting to show the new calendars to the commission and tell them how they would spend the funds from the sale this year.
“Each year, we have a special focus; it started in 2016 when we focused on the floods in southern West Virginia, and lo and behold, the next year, there were floods up in Wetzel County, and that was our special focus, and last year we focused on the kids of Kentucky,” Tucker said.
Despite fears the annual campaign would fall through during the pandemic year, the Band of Brothers opted to bring some Christmas and holiday cheer to residents of local nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
“During the pandemic year, we didn’t think we were going to be able to do anything, but we focused on residents in nursing homes, and we supported 35 nursing homes in North Central West Virginia and made Christmas special for them,” he said.
This year, Tucker said they will stay local and help build different types of accessibility necessities like wheelchair ramps for residents who desperately need them.
“We have more retired men in the area that want to help, and Karl Boone has put this little team together, and they’re going to try to help people that are financially struggling, but they need accessibility features,” Tucker said. “They might need a ramp, or they might need something in the shower in terms of handles and things to hold on to – there’s a big need for that in the community.”
Despite being necessities for people with accessibility issues, such amenities can be very costly.
The Band of Brothers will also help support the Upshur County Healthy Grandfamilies program, the prison Angel Tree program, the Upshur Cooperative Parish House and Crosslines, the Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge, youth mission programs, the Seth Project and others.
“The need is huge; these groups we talked with are saying they are seeing it’s upwards of a 20 or 25 percent increase [in need] this year because of the difficulties with the economy, finances and assets,” Tucker said. “There’s no way we can sit on the sidelines when we’re able to help out. That’s what we do, and what we’re going to try to do again this year, and we’re off to a pretty good start on the calendar sales.”
The calendars are $15 and feature picturesque landscapes from across the state of West Virginia, photographed by Tucker himself.
“We’re having a chicken dinner sale this Saturday, Oct. 21, at Chapel Hill, and it is $15 per meal and runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” Tucker said. “[Create Buckhannon members] Buck Edwards and CJ Rylands are great supporters, and we couldn’t do the sale without them. We have sold 1,000 calendars already; even when people may not need one because we all have phones now, they still like to donate.”
The group is taking pre-orders for the annual “Help Us Help Kids” Chicken Dinner Sale in Chapel Hill United Methodist Church’s parking lot. If you want to place an order ahead of time, message Tucker via Facebook, text him at 304-704-4292 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tucker told commissioners he is touched by the community’s generosity every year.
“The people of Upshur County and people across West Virginia are very generous, and they’ve allowed us to be the conduit from them to the people that need it,” Tucker said. “We work with groups that know the people and what they need. It feels good to know the money has gone to real needs, and the stories we hear are heart-wrenching for me and bring me to tears.”