Socorro DAV hosting Casino Night tonight

........................................................................................................................................................................................

At 7 p.m. this evening, the Socorro chapter of the Disabled American Veterans will host its first ever Casino Night.

The charity event will provide attendees with the chance to hit the poker and blackjack tables, as well as indulge in some good food. And for anyone who might happen to find themselves on the losing end this evening, there’s good news: There are no losers tonight. All proceeds gained will be donated to local charities, so everyone will leave the DAV Hall tonight as a winner.

“The money we generate here basically stays in the community and it goes out to other charities,” DAV member and retired Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Peter Romero said.

And while the charitable contributions the DAV makes locally are great in number, part of the reason behind Casino Night is because Bingo has been struggling a bit as of late, and the chapter needed to find a creative way to generate proceeds.

“We needed to do something else,” current DAV Cmdr. and Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Vidal Moya said. “We’re trying something different. It’s just kind of like an experiment.”

And should this experiment prove successful, it’s one that will benefit the community in profound ways. The list of charities, organizations and people the DAV has helped is long and impressive. Contributions have gone to San Miguel Mission, Relay for Life, Boy Scouts Wreaths Across America, the Socorro Animal Shelter, Cops for Tots, the Veterans Hospital, the local Civil Air Patrol, El Puente, Magdalena Schools, Socorro Men’s Golf, Russell Moses’ local boxing gym and the Socorro Chamber of Commerce.

That’s not even the entire list, and all of those donations have taken place since November of 2011.

Last weekend, Socorro Girl Scout Troop 1104 attended the 2012 Rock the Mall event in Washington, D.C., and the DAV donated proceeds to the troop to help get it there.

They also open up the hall to the public for various events, either for free or for a very nominal fee. Yesterday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., they hosted an enchilada dinner for Socorro resident Paul Ulibarri, Jr., who’s been in the hospital recovering from an infection in his bloodstream for more than a month.

The Disabled American Veterans also nationally sponsor and donate to the Winter Sports Clinic, a yearly event in Colorado that allows severely injured and disabled vets the opportunity to conquer a snowy mountainside by various means, similar to skiing or snowboarding.

According to both the DAV website and Vidal, the clinic is a life-altering event for those who participate.

“Last year one of the troops was suicidal, and he didn’t want to do nothing,” Vidal said. “But they talked him into going, and he’s great now.”

So attending tonight’s Casino Night won’t just help the DAV continue to contribute to the community in the way they have been, but it will allow for every individual to become a charitable donor them self.

“I’m hoping we can fill the place,” Romero said. “We’d just like to invite the public to come in, and have fun and see what we’re all about.”

For more information tonight’s event, please call 835-0843.