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‘Take a Vet to Lunch’ set for Sept. 13

ARLINGTON — For Bob Rawe, it began in January when he started inviting fellow veterans, half a dozen at a time, to free lunches in his home held every two weeks.

On Sept. 13, Rawe’s outreach will expand quite a bit beyond that, when he coordinates the “Take a Vet to Lunch” event, from 5-8 p.m., at the Arlington Assembly of God Church, on 201 N. Stillaguamish Ave.

“Our World War II vets are dying at a rate of about a thousand a day,” said Rawe, a Vietnam veteran. “We’d already been serving veterans and their spouses, so we just decided to go bigger.”

“Bigger” is arguably an understatement, since Rawe is planning on serving at least 50 veterans, plus their spouses or guests, as well as those helping to serve everyone else, for a total of as many as 200 people. This generosity comes at a cost, though, and Rawe will need help from the civilian members of the community to cover it.

“We have to sell about 90 tickets to non-veterans,” said Rawe, who requested they donate $15 per person, since neither veterans nor their guests will be asked to pay for their meals. The event will be entirely volunteer-run, so donations will go exclusively toward covering the cost of food and beverages.

Rawe is also looking for individuals and organizations to step up as “table hosts,” by providing table service for eight people, including dinner and dessert plates, utensils, glasses, coffee cups and napkins. Hosts will also be responsible for removing the table service after the dinner, but in return, they will be allowed to decorate their tables tastefully, including advertisements. Each host must buy at least one ticket and provide someone to be responsible for the table service. Tables will be set up Sept. 13 between noon and 5 p.m.

“We picked Sept. 13 for the dinner because everyone should set aside time on their own to remember Sept. 11,” Rawe said. “The Assembly of God Church has offered to help with the dinner, but this is a non-religious event. ‘First Mike’ Gregoire will also be there, since he’s a vet too, but he won’t be saying anything political.”

Rawe praised the number of Arlington and Marysville businesses that have already donated cash and items for the event’s raffle, but he hopes more will contribute.

For more information, call Rawe at 360-629-5054, or e-mail him at bobsoutback@verizon.net.

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