Chaves County Veterans to host elegant dinner and dance benefitting veterans and their families
By Christina Stock
Romance is in the air for the Chaves County Veterans’ second annual Valentine’s Ball. The tickets are extremely limited and sell fast.
The venue for the ball this year is again the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds Sales Arena on Southeast Main Street. Doors open at 6 p.m. and cocktail attire is required, western style preferred. The event is for those who are 21 and older.
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The Valentine’s Ball was created as a fundraiser to help local veterans and their families with funeral costs at the General Douglas L. McBride Roswell Veterans Cemetery.
Jeremy Hurley and Jery Bethany sat down with the Vision editor to talk about the event and future plans. Jery Bethany and her husband Darrel Bethany are owners of Anderson Bethany Funeral Home & Crematory. Jery stepped up as the event organizer and is also in charge of decorating the venue. Hurley is a voting board member of CCV and Vice President at Anderson Bethany Funeral Home & Crematory.
“They approached Darrel eight years ago — Bert (Eldridge) walked in here … He walked in here and Darrel looked at him and he said, ‘I’m in,’” Jery Bethany said about the creation of the General Douglas L. McBride Roswell Veterans Cemetery.
“Darrel always had a passion for the veterans,” Hurley said. “They developed the Chaves County Veteran board. It’s turned into something. I came along and saw what a passion it was of Darrel, so we just made it a passion of Anderson Bethany Funeral home to step in and carry on.”
Last year the members of CCV agreed on hosting a special event as a fundraiser and the Valentine’s Ball was created.
“We were able to donate to the Chaves County Veterans $22,000 for our first event,” Jery Bethany said. This was double the amount that they had hoped for last year. “This is our second annual event. It’s been a very positive thing for the public. The city took over the cemetery. They don’t charge for the plot for the veterans, but they charge for the opening and closing of the gravesite or the niche. So, we’ve taken it on as a group of veterans to pay that fee for every veteran. We give it free …
“We eventually want to grow into helping veterans in different ways, like if they need their electric bill paid or they need room repairs.”
These future plans extend beyond helping veterans, if enough funds are found. “If a spouse of a deceased veteran needs home repairs done, we want to step in and help,” Hurley said. “Right now, we are just set up as the 501(c)(3) to only pay indigent veterans or partial $160 of the opening and closing of the cemetery plot. We want to build it to being able to help every veteran and veteran’s family when in a time of need.”
This year the Yarbrough Band is returning for the Valentine’s Ball. Though they are from Las Cruces, the band has been performing often in Roswell and surrounding area. As a special treat and to step it up, Hurley said that Peppers Grill & Bar is in charge of the open bar all through the event, and catering. “This year we’re having prime rib,” he said. With an open bar there is always concern for safety, but the organizers are well prepared.
“We do have safety rides,” Jery Bethany said. “We have designated drivers there. Lyft is supposed to be there. We asked them to be on call. We also have the mounted patrol. They will be there for security.”
For those who want to help, CCV is taking donations. “Any type of donation we take, from a dollar to whatever amount. You can donate in the name of a veteran,” Jery Bethany said. There is also a hands-on need.
“Jery needs help doing the decorating,” Hurley said. “Because the decorating is a week-long event. She’ll start Monday with a few ladies and the decorating will go every day Monday through Friday. It is a big facility. Last year — being the first — we had people telling us last year that it was the event of the year. People were already buying tables the day after. Calling in and putting their names on the spots. This one is going to be over the top. The auction items we’ve gotten. The door prizes we received to give away. We’ve got three guns that are going to be auctioned off. We’ve got barbecue grills, we got tons of card auction items out there, we got a couple of little gun safes for silent auction.”
The organizers chose ENMSF because of the lower cost and venue size. “We are limited by space, because there is not an event center here that can handle over 300 people,” Jery Bethany said. “And we are very strong on keeping it local. That’s one reason to go with the fairground. The fairground works with us because they are very veteran-oriented and the Chaves County Veterans do a lot for the fairgrounds. They paint the building, they repair the buildings. They work out there with them. So they really work with us. Once again, keeping everything local. We don’t send our catering out of Chaves County, the band is out, but they are from New Mexico.”
While profits of some other fundraisers do not go 100 percent to the organization, CCV are proud that they make an exception.
“Nobody pockets any money,” Hurley said. “I don’t get money, the Bethany’s don’t get money. We (Anderson Bethany Funeral Home & Crematory) pay the band, we pay the bar bill, we pay the caterer, we pay the insurance on the building. We make a donation to the mounted patrol, We make a donation to Goddard High School choir, because they come and help. After all those donations and bills are paid, nobody turns in a bill for any type. Nobody gets a receipt for time donated. Time donated is time donated, that’s it.
“Board members do not draw any pay out of Chaves County Veteran board,” Hurley said. “Everything we make is donated 100 percent to Chaves County Veterans. This year, we are hoping to shoot for more than last year.
“Our goal is to be getting where donations are rolling in from events like this one, of personal donations, of annual contributors, about $100,000 plus. We want to get this going and keep it local.”
Asked where this enthusiasm to help veterans come from, Hurley said that while there are no veterans employed at the moment at the funeral home, they all are children or grandchildren of veterans and they all are New Mexico citizens by birth, most of them born in Roswell.
Jery Bethany and members of CCV are trying to reach out to younger veterans.
“We are having trouble getting the young veterans to help,” she said. “We would like to get some of them in here too — we need people to pick up where these old Vietnam veterans left. They are worn out and hurting. One thing that I always say is, ‘We serve because we were served.’ That’s why I am here doing what I am doing. How much more can I honor them?”
The event last year was so popular that tickets were sold the day after for the next year. The organizers said that it is best to get the tickets early for next year and to call them as soon as possible for the few tickets that are still available.
For tickets, call Darrel Bethany at 575-973-8463, Donny DeGray at 575-420-8277, Colt Gipson at 575-626-7226, Dale Hurley at 575-291-9440 or Jeremy Hurley at 575-626-5888.
For more information about CCV, visit chavescountyveterans.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.