Friends of NRA set for annual fundraising banquet

March 27, 2016
Friends of NRA Chairman Kenny Ruckel. - Photo by Dennis Brown

Friends of NRA Chairman Kenny Ruckel.
– Photo by Dennis Brown

A local group of volunteers whose main objectives are to support shooting sports and protect the Second Amendment is planning its third major fundraiser.
The Lewis County Friends of NRA are counting down to April 16 when the third annual Fundraising Banquet will take place at Lewis County Middle School.
“A group of us got together in November 2013 and contacted John LaRowe,” said Kenny Ruckel, Chairman of the local chapter.
LaRowe is the Kentucky Field Representative for Friends of NRA.
“We chartered in February of 2014 and we had our first fundraising banquet in April of 2014,” Ruckel said.
That first banquet, held at the Black Oak Fire House, was sold out.
Last year, the banquet was held at Lewis County Middle School where they can seat up to 400 comfortably.
“We’ve sold 27 table packages so far,” Ruckel said Saturday as volunteers gathered for a meeting. “We’re shooting for 30.”
The table packages are for six attendees and include extras depending on the package level. They cost from $500 to $2,500.
Individual tickets are $30 for the dinner. The most popular is the Couples Package for $100 which includes two dinners and $60 in raffle tickets.
A Big Shooter Package is also available for $100. It includes one dinner and $80 worth of raffle tickets.
Several firearms will be raffled that evening, including limited edition NRA logo items. “We won’t just have firearms,” Ruckel said. “Although, we will have a lot of firearms. “We’ll give away 60 to 65 guns that night.”
There will be jewelry, household items, a Ronald Reagan commemorative set, and several items donated locally.
In addition to the numerous raffles, there will be a live auction and silent auction.
There will be more than 40 volunteer members who will help put on the banquet,” Ruckel said.
Rick “Skeeter” Shaw (Skeeter’s Steaks and Barbecue) will be catering the event this year. “He’s promised us a great meal,” Ruckel said. “I’m sure that’s what we’ll get.”
The doors will open at 5:00 p.m. at Lewis County Middle School and the dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“We invite everyone to come early, visit and look over the items in the auctions and raffles,” Ruckel said.
“There may be a few tickets available at the door but we strongly urge anyone planning to attending to get their tickets in advance,” he said.
Volunteers continue to ask for donations of items from area businesses. There is also advertising space available in the program for the banquet.
Ruckel has requested the facilities at Lewis County Middle School the past two years with school board members granting permission. The usual restriction not allowing firearms on school property for that evening is lifted, as allowed by state law.
Ruckel said of the 20 Friends of NRA chapters in Kentucky, the Lewis County chapter finished third in net fundraising for the past two years.
“That’s competing against chapters in areas like Northern Kentucky, Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro and Louisville,” Ruckel said.
“The only two chapters that have beat us, and that’s both years, have been Northern Kentucky and Owensboro,” he added.
Ruckel is proud of the money coming back to local organizations through the NRA Foundation.
“There were four grants awarded in Lewis County this year totaling $10,363,” Ruckel said.
Three of those grants were presented at the March meeting of the Lewis County Board of Education and went to JROTC and Lewis County Middle School to supply competition air rifles, and to the Family Center to pay for eight kids to attend Camp Webb.
A fourth grant award will be presented to Lewis County 4-H.
Ruckel said Kentucky had $242,000 available to be awarded and applications were for more than $770,000.
He said 93 percent of available funds are awarded to youth programs in the state while the remainder, seven percent, goes to programs for veterans, school systems, law enforcement and women’s groups.
The local chapter generally meets about once each month on the third floor of the Lewis County Courthouse. Meetings are usually at 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays. The next meeting has been scheduled for April 9 with finalization of plans for the banquet on the agenda.
Ruckel invites anyone interested in volunteering to attend any meeting or ask any current volunteer. “We’re always happy to answer any questions,” he said.
Lewis County Friends of NRA is dedicated to efforts to support opportunities for law-abiding citizens to participate in shooting sports programs and those that improve public safety. Volunteers conduct raffles, banquets, and shooting sports events in order to raise awareness and funds in support of the NRA Foundation and Kentucky State Fund.
The NRA Foundation provides financial support to eligible projects, programs and organizations through its Grant Program. Each year, volunteer committees from across the country tirelessly raise charitable dollars and generous donors make gifts that are in turn awarded as grants in support of educational and public service programs relating to the shooting sports in our communities.
The general focus of Foundation grants is to:
• Promote, advance and encourage firearms, shooting sports and hunting safety.
• Educate individuals with respect to firearms, firearms history, participation in the shooting sports, hunting safety, and marksmanship.
• Conduct research in furtherance of improved firearms safety and marksmanship facilities and techniques.
For any information on the Lewis County Friends of NRA or the banquet, Ruckel may be contacted at 606-541-6244 or ruckel32@gmail.com. You can also follow the group on Facebook.
Other local officers include Co-Chair Raymont Bolander, Treasurer John Grabill and Secretary Carol Cunningham.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

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