By Johnny Jackson
Jonah Hand, of McDonough, is hoping to make a positive community impact this weekend with the car-and-bike show he has organized. He's doing it in support of veterans.
"I've been working on it for about six months," he said. "I've been going to different car shows, handing out fliers."
The 17-year-old Boy Scout also has been making the rounds among local businesses to garner sponsorships for Sunday's charity event. He wants to collect 1,000 pairs of white socks, and 1,000 pairs of white, briefs underwear, for veteran patients in Veterans Affairs hospitals, and for any other needy veterans.
He said he learned through visits to the VFW that socks and underwear are much-needed commodities for veterans, and are not provided through the hospitals.
Hand said the entry fee to the car-and-bike show, being called the American Classic Car & Bike Show, is one pack of white socks, and one pack of white briefs. The show will be held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6330, located at 732 Veterans Parkway in Jonesboro.
He said the VFW, which is helping host the event, plans to send the donations to select VA facilities.
The event is part of Hand's Eagle Scout Project, with Boy Scout Troop 62, out of First Baptist Church of McDonough. He, and eight of his fellow scouts, will be involved in putting on the event, which will last from 11 a.m., until 3 p.m.,, Sunday. The event's rain date will be July 25.
"I thought of this as a cause," Hand said. "I thought about something that could actually help out the community."
Hand has been in scouts since he was 7 years old, according to his mother, Dawn Hand. "His dad was a scout, and it was just kind of a natural progression, and he enjoyed it, once he got there," she said.
His mother said her son, now a senior at New Creation Christian Academy in McDonough, has quickly matured into a responsible young adult. "Especially in the last year, it's helped him be more responsible," she added. "The older he got, the more responsible he's become, having to look after the younger scouts."
Hand, who aspires to have a career in the U.S. Army, said he initially wanted to do something for disabled veterans. However, in speaking with members of the VFW, he learned more about the needs of veterans at VA hospitals, and needy veterans.
"I just feel great respect for those who have risked their lives, or given their lives, for our country," he said. "They deserve every bit of help that we can provide them. I'm thinking, we should, at least, get a hundred cars. We're also accepting monetary donations."
The needs of veterans are ever-present and growing, according to William Underdown, commander of VFW Post 6330. "I think his project is fantastic, because all these veterans need stuff," said Underdown. "We have a lot of needy veterans, who need socks, underwear, and so fourth, and he's going to go out here and work for it," he said. "I think it's fabulous. I'm very proud of him. It's nice to see a young man take interest in that. I wish more teenagers would do that. Maybe we wouldn't have half the problems we have today."
For more information about the car-and-bike show, charity event, call (678) 610-5076.