U.S. Marine Corps veteran Alvin Lawton, who served in Korea from 1952 to 1954, signs his name to a banner Saturday at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center in Craig. The banner is in support of U.S. troops. During the past month, Thunder Rolls has raised more than $2,500 for the Bowlers to Veterans link, an organization that provides support to former and active servicemen and women.

Photo by Ben McCanna

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Alvin Lawton, who served in Korea from 1952 to 1954, signs his name to a banner Saturday at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center in Craig. The banner is in support of U.S. troops. During the past month, Thunder Rolls has raised more than $2,500 for the Bowlers to Veterans link, an organization that provides support to former and active servicemen and women.

Bowling for a cause in Craig

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Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 participate in a flag dedication ceremony Saturday at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center in Craig.

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Veterans Mark Wick and Jim Meineke raise a flag during a dedication ceremony Saturday at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center in Craig. The dedication capped a month-long fundraiser for the Bowlers to Veterans Link.

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U.S. Army veteran Archie Albaugh, who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, rolls the ball at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center in Craig. Thunder Rolls offered free bowling to veterans from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Winners of the freedom ball raffle

• Mickey Ford

• Pat Pearce

• Colleen Monroy

• Rhonda Mascarenas

• Sherie Sadvar

U.S. Army veteran Archie Albaugh served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. He was in charge of artillery.

“Most people run away from flying bullets,” Albaugh said. “We ran toward them because we wanted to take the shooters out.”

On Saturday, however, Albaugh was focused on targets of a safer nature.

Bowling pins.

The occasion was free bowling for veterans from 1 to 5 p.m. at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center at 900 Industrial Ave., in Craig.

The event capped off a month-long fundraiser for the Bowlers to Veterans Link, a national nonprofit organization that has supported veterans and active duty servicemen and women since 1942.

The fundraiser began Oct. 9 with a night of charity bowling, and continued with cash donations, merchandise, and raffle tickets for one of five freedom balls — bowling balls that feature patriotic graphics.

The goal for the fundraiser was $5,000.

“I appreciate them doing it,” Albaugh said.

Beryl Dschaak, co-owner of Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, said the event was a success.

“It feels good,” she said. “I am so glad that we could do this for the vets, and I think they appreciated everything. Everybody said thank you.”

Despite a solid turnout and good times Saturday, Dschaak said the fundraising efforts fell short.

“We’ve reached about $2,500, which is half of our $5,000 goal,” she said.

Dschaak said the bowling center will continue to sell pins and wristbands to benefit the Bowlers to Veterans Link.

Michael Lausin, a U.S. Navy veteran who served from 1973 to 1979, said he appreciated Dschaak’s efforts.

“I think it’s cool that Beryl and them put it together,” Lausin said. “It’s a good cause, and hopefully it will fill in where the other support organizations like the (Department of Veterans Affairs) don’t do what they’re supposed to do.

“A lot of promises have been made to us veterans and, unfortunately, since the Civil War, the government has tried to renege on those promises. I’m sorry, that’s just the way history has been.”

Lausin said he didn’t bowl Saturday, but he and other members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 were on hand for a flag dedication at Thunder Rolls.

At 3 p.m., the bowling balls stopped rolling, patrons exited into the light snow outdoors, and Lausin dedicated the flag.

Veteran Ray Magness said a flag dedication is always an emotional experience.

“I don’t know of any serviceman who doesn’t fill up when he sees a flag dedication,” Magness said.

Magness said he was impressed by the series of Veterans Day events that have taken place in the last week in Craig.

“I was born in Philadelphia, and I lived in Pennsylvania until I came here in 2000,” Magness said. “The little towns, I love them. They treat everybody so much different than in the big cities.”

Veteran Kenneth “Howdy” Davis agreed.

“It’s so heartfelt the way the town accepts its veterans. It’s just phenomenal. You don’t get that back East,” Davis said. “This little town of Craig, boy, it really gets to us.”

Dschaak said there’s more of that hospitality to come.

“I’m going to run it every year,” Dschaak said of the Bowlers to Veterans Link fundraiser. “And, hopefully, we’ll get more and more money every year.”

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