The raffle and fundraiser to help the family of a United States Marine Corporal Phillip Baldwin is in its final week. Baldwin lost both of his legs in June after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan. The organizers are excited to be passing a big check on to the family.
A group of veterans gathered for a photo at the Sho-Ban Indian Festival Sunday afternoon. Arnold Appeney was one of them. He is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, and to see a member of his tribe injured is like seeing a member of his family hurt.
“When things like this happen it’s kind of like a wake up call. You see what they’re doing is real, not just the subject matter of a newscast. So, we know what it feels like here,” Appeney said.
Appeney has helped with the raffle fundraiser for Corporal Balwdin, and the whole thing has been organized by Valarie Kaser and Julie Manning. Kaser is good friends of the Baldwins and said Phillip is in San Diego with his family, and finally out of the hospital.
“The other night they went out for dinner. Someone bought their dinner for them at Olive Garden. And it was great. I mean, they’re kind of getting back to a little bit of a normal life, which is good,” Kaser said.
The organizers have sold about $1,000 of tickets for their raffle and gathered about $1,5000 in donations and they will keep accepting them. They have been receiving donations from people all over the state and as far away as Washington. Kaser said service is extremely important to Native Americans and the sense of community at the festival has helped, too. But even when the weekend is over, she’ll keep working.
“Phillip gave up a lot for his country. You know, for all of us. I want to help in any way possible. You know and I’ll continue to do more for them. He paid a big price to help everyone out. This is the least I can do to help the family out,” Kaser said.
The organizers are raffling off a slew of prizes, including $1,000 in motorcycle detailing. They’ll be drawing for the prizes this Thursday. To buy a ticket, contact Kaser at 208-317-7635 or Manning at 208-604-3695. Donations are being taken at the Pocatello Railroad Credit Union by mentioning Corporal Phillip Baldwin.