On Tuesday afternoon, March 18, 2014, Carl Appenfeldt was all smiles! An Eloy resident and disabled U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran with eight years of service, Carl, who suffers from debilitating multiple sclerosis, was mobile again after seven long months. In a recent letter to the editor of the Eloy Enterprise Carl wrote about his plight and explained his dilemma: his street-legal golf cart on which he is dependent for mobility around town had been abandoned by a friend to whom Carl had generously loaned it. The cart was ticketed, towed and impounded in storage. Carl lives on a very modest disability income and was only able to pay the fine on his ticket. Since August 2013 Carl has made his way around Eloy on crutches since he had no money to pay for towing and storage charges.
Fortunately for Carl his story was heard by an exceptional charitable organization, the Support Our Troops-AZ Club at Robson Ranch. His letter was forwarded to Sonnette Chaput, Americorps VISTA, Pinal Hispanic Council who contacted a volunteer from the SOT-AZ-RR Club. Several club members and veterans, Jerry Koppy, Terry Clark and Al Rudd, attended the Thursday morning Eloy Veterans’ Coffee Club in the Old Eloy Library/APS Room at 100 E 7th Street, where they met Carl, other veterans and representatives of several veterans’ service organizations.
The SOT-AZ-RR decided to help Carl. The SOT-AZ-RR is the largest club at Robson Ranch. SOT-AZ-RR is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. All donations to SOT-AZ-RR from businesses and individuals are tax deductible and tax receipts are provided to all donors.
According to its Mission Statement, the SOT-AZ-RR Club is a proactive, non-political, volunteer charitable organization that exists to provide for the material, physical and emotional needs of our active duty, reserve, veteran and retired military men and women at home and abroad. All SOT-AZ-RR officers and members are unpaid volunteers so that 100% of contributions and donations are expended on behalf of current and former military personnel.
To recap the initiative, the Robson Ranch community residents currently number more than 700 households with a target of 4500+ families located in Eloy. The Robson Ranch residents have become very active in supporting the 31,000 military veterans who live and work in Pinal County and the U.S. armed forces personnel who are deployed currently in Afghanistan and other danger zones worldwide. Through various Robson Ranch resident sponsored activities, SOT-AZ-RR raised more than $25,000 to benefit the program last year. Some efforts through the Troop Appreciation Committee serve active military personnel internationally, nationally and regionally. At the local level, the Veterans Services Committee is responsible to support urgent, immediate and emergency needs of veterans and their families locally in Pinal County that cannot be provided by governmental or private organizations. SOT-AZ-RR receives clients through a number of emergency needs agencies, including the Veterans Administration Clinic and offices locally, the National Community Health Partners, the Open Hands Outreach Program, Housing for Heroes, the Honoring/Hiring/Helping Our Heroes of Pinal County, the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, the Salvation Army and other veterans service organizations.
With the initiative of Clark, Koppy and Rudd, arrangements were made to recover the golf cart. Juan Suarez, Manager of Johnny’s Auto Repair & Towing in Eloy generously agreed to reduce the accumulated charges for Appenfeldt’s impounded cart and to deliver it to Robson Ranch for servicing. SOT-AZ-RR provided the funds to retrieve and to restore the cart to operating condition. Clark, Koppy, Rudd and Al Wimmer replaced the fuel lines and filter, cleaned the fuel tank, serviced the spark plug, purchased new seat covers for the damaged upholstery and cleaned and waxed the vehicle. When the cart still would not run, Mark Rogers, the Manager of Grande Valley Golf Cars in Eloy generously agreed to diagnose the carburetor problems and make repairs or install a new carburetor, which was purchased by the SOT-AZ-RR.
Carl was repatriated with his golf cart when delivered by Clark and Koppy. He now can be seen zipping around Eloy. Thanks to all who generously provided time, labor and funding for this noteworthy SOT-AZ-RR activity. Robson Ranch residents are proud to help our military personnel and veterans.