THOMASVILLE — The fourth annual Vet Fest this Saturday will not only celebrate veterans but also support them in their time of need.

This year, the fundraising event will be hosted at the Thomasville Fairgrounds from noon to 6 p.m.

Admission is $10 but veterans and children under 12 years old get in free. 

All proceeds will go toward the veteran’s resource center known as Dog TagSS.

The non-profit organization, located in Cairo, was established in 2014 and has since provided veterans with free resources, including food assistance, job assistance and counseling.

“If we send them, we must mend them,” Jenifer Dunn, Vet Fest organizer and volunteer, said referring to her organization’s tag line. “We need to continue to show them how much we appreciate their service and how much we value their time and commitment.”

Without Vet Fest,  Dog TagSS operations would be compromised, but so far, the organization has seen success in this year’s fundraising efforts, prior to the event.

“We’ve already more than tripled our highest one so far,” Pat Christopher, CEO of DogTagSS, said.

With more than 40 vendors signed up for this year’s event and continuous community support, the set $12,000 fundraising goal has been surpassed and trumps previous years where Dog TagSS raised close to $4,000 for veterans.

More fundraising efforts are underway, Christopher is hoping to continue targeting homeless veterans.

“One of the ways we found that is good at keeping them (veterans) from going into homelessness is to help them pay bills whenever they get an unexpected high bill,” he said.

Christopher noted that mental health is the leading cause of homelessness, which is why this year mental health counselors and other resources will be available at VestFest.

“Unfortunately, a lot of them (veterans) suffer from PTSD or traumatic brain injuries and that’s where the crux of the problem usually are,” he said.

Vet Fest is just one way the community can say thank you to veterans, Dunn said and she hopes to see more support from residents on Saturday.

“We hope by doing events like this that we can bring awareness not just in November on Veterans Day but year-round,” she said. 

For more information about Vet Fest visit its Facebook page at Vet Fest 2021.

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