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Greenie Invitational Gives a Fuel Boost

Every summer for the past 15 years, Rich Parker and his friends have gathered at Carter Golf Club to answer the call of someone in need.

This year, the Greenie Invitational will serve nearly the same function, with one exception: Instead of targeting an individual or family in need, this year’s golf tournament and auction will turn all its money over to a single group.

“Every dollar we make this year we’re turning over to the Veterans Fuel Assistance Program through the American Legion,” Parker said.

The Legion’s program began two years ago and has been handing out fuel assistance checks to vets in need throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.

But the program has been somewhat low-key — with only five or six applicants per year receiving some $3,000. Legion spokesman Pete St. Pierre hopes to see those numbers — and the program’s visibility — increase this year.

“With Rich’s help, I think we can get the word out to more vets and their families and get them the help they need,” said St. Pierre.

Parker is thrilled to see his benefit golf tournament partnered with the Legion, and has already put $11,000 on the table raised from the last two years of the Greenie.

“We’re hoping to be able to give between $25,000 and $30,000 to the Legion,” said Parker.

But there’s also a personal component to this year’s benefit. The Greenie will also provide help to a close friend, alumni and Lebanon native Jimmy Moore, better known around town as “Natch.”

Natch has been battling brain tumors for the past five years. While dealing with his cancer, he has also been battling to overcome the financial burdens of catastrophic health issues. But there is good news. For the second time since being diagnosed, his tumor is gone and Natch appears to be cancer-free.

“So many times, the Greenie has been in response to a medical emergency or some life-threatening development for someone,” said Parker, the Dartmouth College men’s golf coach. “But this time it’s a celebration. And Natch is going to be there with us Friday to celebrate.”

While the golf field is already filled, there will be a gathering and auction open to the general public tonight, starting at 7 p.m. at Carter Golf Club. Some of the items for auction include restaurant certificates, greens fees from Quechee, Sunapee and Hanover Country Clubs, a set of four tires and a pair of sneakers from Matt Bonner, the Concord native and longtime San Antonio Spurs player.

“I’ve seen some amazing letters from the vets who have been helped by this program,” Parker said. “We’re just trying to help anyway we can.”
To register for the Fuel Assistance Program, vets need to provide a copy of their discharge papers to be eligible and have the family or a social worker get in touch with the Legion in Lebanon to get an application.

Once the application is filled out, a three-man board determines the applicant’s need and distributes the assistance check — which is usually $500. Though, St. Pierre notes, there have been special cases that have required more funding.

“There are so many vets out there that need the assistance. All we are trying to do is get the help to them,” he said. “This is what the Legion is all about: doing good things for the vets who have done good things for this country. We just want to get the word out to help as many as we can.”

To donate to the cause, contact Parker at 603-252-9483, or if you wish to receive a fuel assistance application, contact St. Pierre at 603-448-3429.

Don Mahler can be reached at dmahler@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.