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Thrivent revs up for fundraiser to benefit Victory Junction

By Susan Shinn

Salisbury Post

Rowan County’s two chapters of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans are gearing up to sponsor their first benefit for Victory Junction Gang Camp.

A black tie dinner dance is set for 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, at the Civic Center.

Cost is $50 per person and includes a meal catered by Sweet Meadow Café, entertainment by MidLife Crisis and a silent auction. The evening’s speaker is Pattie Petty.

Petty and her husband, Kyle, founded Victory Junction after the death of their son, Adam. Located in Randleman, the NASCAR-themed camp is a year-round facility serving children ages 7-15 with chronic illnesses. Volunteers work with campers on a one-to-one or two-to-one basis.

Each summer, children attend weeklong camp sessions with others who share their medical conditions.

“That way, the kids don’t feel out of place,” said Matt Lowman, a local firefighter and Thrivent member.

The camp is free for children and families, but the cost incurred per child per week is $2,500.

While NASCAR drivers have been generous in donating money for the facility, fundraising for operations is a constant need.

“This is the first of what we hope to be an annual event,” said Lynn Lippard, a financial representative with Thrivent.

The two chapters hope to raise $50,000, said Eric Brady, Thrivent financial representative.

Besides selling some 250 tickets for the event, Thrivent staff and members are also seeking sponsorships and items for the silent auction.

Thrivent has two chapters in Rowan County: The Southwest Rowan chapter and the East Rowan chapter. Chapter officers had heard Pattie Petty speak at a meeting, and later a busload of 50 Thrivent staff and members toured the camp.

That tour spurred the group into action.

“I thought about people in my childhood who had various handicaps,” said David Fisher, a Thrivent member at Concordia Lutheran Church. “They never did have a chance at anything like that. It’s laid on me ever since they had that tour.

“I don’t think anybody wants to turn a kid down to go to camp, especially a handicapped kid.”

Victory Junction is fully equipped to handle any medical condition.

“They’ve figured out every situation,” said Jennifer Myers, a Thrivent financial representative.

Besides providing medical care, the camp offers all the traditional activities — horseback riding, boating and fishing and arts and crafts.

Lowman, Myers’ brother, will be volunteering at camp this summer through the Salisbury Fire Department. The department is getting a group together and will work with children who are burn victims.

“You get to be a big kid with them,” Lowman said. “I’m excited. It’s good to see children when they’re smiling and in good shape and happy.”

“It’s a very humbling experience,” Jennifer said. “Once you go and experience it, you say, when can I do this? How can I help?”

Myers and Lowman have another family connection with the fundraiser — their dad, Tom Lowman, is a member of MidLife Crisis.

Lippard said he hoped the benefit would not only raise money for Victory Junction, but also raise local awareness for the camp.

Some three dozen Lutheran congregations in Rowan County have received tickets for the event. They’re asked to turn in their money by Jan. 19.

A portion of each ticket is tax deductible.

***

To learn more about Victory Junction Gang Camp or to request a DVD about the camp, call Thrivent’s Piedmont Regional Team Office at 704-633-0722. You may also visit the camp’s Web site at www.victoryjunction.org.

***

Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@ salisburypost.com.

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