After serving 13 years in the Air Force and finishing out his military career with the Delaware National Guard and the Navy Reserve, Dave Skocik understands the needs of the military in his community.
That is why he and the veterans of VFW Memorial Post 9962 voted to donate $50,000 of the proceeds from the sale of the 1950s-era VFW post they called home to USO Delaware.
“Once it was decided that we would donate the proceeds to services for the military in our community, USO Delaware was the obvious choice,” said Skocik, who serves as quartermaster and president of the Delaware Veterans Coalition. “A lot of people go through the Dover facility and the USO there is doing a phenomenal job providing a much-needed service to our active duty troops and to their families.”
Skocik, a retired Vietnam-era veteran in his 60s, refers to himself as “the young guy in the group” of a few dozen World War II and Korean War veterans who have met at a local restaurant for the last few years while renting their building to a local school.
“We’re happy where we are,” Skocik said. “We don’t have a home anymore; we don’t want one. We don’t have a bar; we don’t want one. We all thought this would be a fitting end to the building and a fitting tribute to what the USO does.”
Joan Cote, director of USO Delaware, was astonished to see all those zeros.
“I was already very happy because one dollar is more than I had one minute ago,” Cote wrote in an email. “I was thinking in my mind that it might be $500 or $1,000 donation, but when Dave came out to present the check, he first handed me a note he wanted me to read explaining their donation. My jaw dropped and I honestly mouthed ‘OMG.’ It took everything I had to hold back the tears!”
Cote says USO Delaware will use some of the funding to improve services on its patio area for troops to enjoy 24-hours-a-day.
“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” Skocik said. “We older veterans have to remember those who are serving today. Those who are serving multiple tours in harm’s way, uprooting their families — separations — and I can’t think of a better organization to contribute to than the USO.”