Thursday, August 21, 2014
The Low Country Veterans Group (LCVG) celebrated their fourth anniversary since their inception on Aug. 11, 2010. The group is the brainchild of Sgt. Earl Rutledge who returned from Iraq in 2005, in his own words “broken.”
To this day, he finds it difficult to recount the days spent in his room, sitting in a chair afraid, and with no reason to leave his home. Having been an active, energetic man prior to his combat deployment, after a couple of months, Sgt. Rutledge gave up on the VA and sought private help. With his faith and desire to return to being a productive citizen, he soon turned Post Traumatic Stress Disorder into “Post Traumatic Success” and overcame his symptoms by using his military training and ability to adapt and improvise to create a group of retired and disabled veterans who made it their mission to help each other get well and “leave no man behind.”.
The Low Country Veterans Group has achieved 501(c)(3) status as a not-for-profit charitable organization and is now 150 members strong with at least that many active civilian supporters. As of the day of their fourth anniversary, they have been funded by their own dues and the generosity of members like Theodore “Big Russ” Russell, original owner of Drunken Jacks in Murrells Inlet and a Vietnam combat veteran who was engaged in some of the most intense action that took place in that war.
The men of the LCVG throw a great anniversary cookout, but make no mistake, they are not a social group. The LCVG is dedicated to making sure no veteran is neglected by the VA if they are eligible for disability or if they are in need of medical care. They work with the Housing Authority in Georgetown and surrounding counties to guarantee that no veteran is forced to be homeless by poverty or disability. The LCVG, on a budget of a few thousand dollars a year, have secured tens of millions of dollars in medical care and disability benefits that would have otherwise gone undistributed because many veterans don't know how to apply or just give up on applying for medical care or disability.
If you want to know more about the LCVG or make a tax-deductible contribution, call 843-543-4888 or write to Low Country Veterans, PO Box 1726, Georgetown South Carolina 29442.