Operation 22 Gears Up to Hold First Annual Poker Run

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September 16th, 2023, Operation 22 is setting up to hold their first annual poker run to raise funds. The funds raised from this event will go to Operation 22 which works diligently to combat the suicide rate among veterans.

We sat down at FLO Mortgage to talk with Stephen Swarner, the President of Operation 22, to understand what Operation 22 does in a nutshell, the details of their upcoming event and how the community can make this event successful.

Swarner started the conversation by explaining a little bit about Operation 22, Part of their mission is to bring awareness to the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide. Swarner did say that while the ’22 a day’ is still commonly used to talk about veteran suicide, there are recent concerns that the number may be higher.

Part of what Operation 22 does, is try to bring back the camaraderie that veterans are used to having when they were active in the military service. He talked about how the bond between people who served is such a unique and strong bond. The goal behind Operation 22 is to essentially revive that bond among veterans here. They want to hold events and outings where vets can go and make connections with other vets, so that when they are struggling with thoughts of suicide, or depression that have a group of people who understand that struggle and are willing to be there for each other.

The poker run will be an annual event that Operation 22 holds as a way to help raise funds to operate the Organization. The event will begin at 10am at the Iron Horse Saloon, and from there participants will then ride up to Ike’s Saloon, 1405 Saloon, Coquina Coast Brewing, Beach Front Grille and Teddy Morse’s Harley Davidson before heading back to the Iron Horse Saloon. The buy in is $10 per hand, and it includes the ride, food and entertainment. There will also be a silent auction, raffles as well as a 50/50. The last bike will be in at 4pm.

There are still sponsorships available if a business would like to participate as a sponsor in the event. Stephen Swarner also issued an open invitation to anyone who wants to participate. Whether your vehicle has two wheels, three wheels, or four wheels, he wants everyone to know they are welcome to participate.

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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