Carroll and Lynn Prosser are proud to claim U.S. Sen. John McCain as a member of Grand Strand DAV Chapter 30, which has served area military veterans for more than 50 years. When the Arizona senator and former presidential candidate was marshal of the Military Appreciation Days parade, Lynn Prosser had a membership application ready. How could he refuse?
Carroll E. Prosser has been the commander of Chapter 30 since 2003. He is rightfully proud that the chapter’s volunteers last year provided services to almost 4,000 veterans in Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties. “We don’t distinguish between disabled veterans and veterans” when it comes to services, he says.
Carroll and Lynn Prosser both take pride in the chapter being entirely volunteers and 92 percent of its funds going directly to veterans and their families. Chapter 30 has 1,024 members and the auxiliary has 161. The national organization was chartered by Congress in 1929 as Disabled American Veterans.
Chapter 30 has a dozen certified chapter service officers who assist veterans and families in filing claims for medical care, service-related disability compensation and pension benefits with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Carroll Prosser says the service officers volunteered more than 5,000 hours and drove more than 3,000 miles in the last fiscal year.
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Prosser is legally blind from his Army service in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division. He’s proud that an uncle, son and grandson also served in Big Red One, as the famed division is called. He is also commander of the DAV National Blind Chapter and a past S.C. department commander.
Assistance to veterans and families is in the form of food vouchers, utility bills and rents. The payments go to the utility or landlord. Chapter 30 volunteers work with other organizations, such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, that assist needy veterans. The chapter also gives financial assistance to Community Kitchen and the former Street Reach, now in the umbrella organization New Directions.
A veteran who is homeless automatically qualifies for financial help; however, the Prossers note that sometimes the homeless have moved on and can’t be located to receive benefits when they become available.
Many of the chapter’s members drive the DAV van, transporting veterans from the VA Clinic on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base to the Ralph Johnson Medical Center in Charleston. A new van is expected this spring. After Carroll Prosser made a presentation to Horry County Council on the need for a new vehicle, Councilman Paul Price contributed $15,000 from his discretionary (recreation) funds toward the new van and $5,000 for DAV programs.
The chapter has a building, originally a church, that was donated to the DAV years ago. The chapter pays insurance and utilities for the building, which is used at no charge by the Order of the Purple Hearts, the Grand Strand Patriotic Alliance, the Vietnam Vets PTSD Group and Vet Center counselors.
Chapter 30 has an operating budget of $45,000 and receives an allocation of $12,000 from the United Way of Horry County. During Golden Corral Veterans Appreciation Days, chapter members raised more than $11,000 in a total of 750 hours over a six-week period.
That illustrates the dedication of the Prossers and members of Chapter 30.
“We take great pride in what we do ... the way we do it ... the reason we do it.”