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Community Rallies in Support of Firearms Education


Presentation of the Colors by Boy Scouts Troop 3 U.S. Flag Chard Barker, Caller Flint Westergren, Bugler Christopher Lawson, Followers Jeremy Rivers, Jack Wood, Ben Small, Mason Whitney.

The Tehachapi Friends of NRA held its 14th Annual Fundraising Dinner and Auction in Tehachapi on August 6, 2016.

Drawing members of Tehachapi and surrounding communities over 260 people packed the event space at Benz headquarters. The draw of the event was not only the raffle drawings, live auction and silent auction, but camaraderie in support of the NRA and firearm ownership. First time attendee and NRA member Tim Garnica is "pro-gun" and was "supporting the cause," he says, while enjoying entering one of the many drawings.

Another first-timer was four-year-old Brooklyn along with her family. Parents Eric and Jamie Rose come from California City and Eric is part of the local USAF. He says he wants his daughter to know the significance of NRA. "My daughter knows how important the Second Amendment is and how NRA fights for our rights," he states. This family-friendly event brings in youth of all ages with their parents for a fun-filled evening.

Father-son duo Mike Berkheimer Sr. and Mike Berkheimer Jr. bond as a family over their shared interest in firearms. "I love it, I grew up shooting," says Berkheimer Sr. who was raised on a farm in Missouri. "Seemed natural to get him involved," he says, having started Berkheimer Jr. who's now to be 16 years old, at age seven. His favorite firearm in the hobby is a 12 gauge shotgun.

The event brings together firearm enthusiasts of all ages, interests and backgrounds. With many different firearms and related items offered through drawings throughout the night, attendees pay to play the many games and explore ways to win their next firearm, cleaning kit, scope, NRA theme memorabilia and more. One special drawing is entirely free, outside the cost of admission for the evening. veterans, active-duty military, law enforcement and fire personnel receive a surprise partway through the evening by entering in a drawing just for them as a way to say "thank you" for their service to the community.

Ladies were also included for their varying interests in firearms with their own drawings and a Guns and Roses limited drawing where purchasing a rose enters you into the drawing to win a Springfield XD9, a 9mm pistol. Christine Garone, third year attendee and firearm owner won this year's drawing saying, "awesome, I'm surprised." Her daughter, age 20 shoots as well. Concealed carry or firearm theme purses, jewelry, range bags and safety equipment are included on the female-theme table open to all attendees.

Jamie and Eric Rose with their daughter Brooklyn enjoy the event as a family.

Overall, the event's success can be measured in the smiles and easy camaraderie of those in attendance. Having a common interest and purpose acts as a great way to pull those within a community together, furthering a common cause nationwide. Chairman of the event Mike Barrett says the $55,000 profit from funds raised at this event will benefit the national Friends of NRA Foundation to pursue areas such as hunter education and safety, child education, and encourage women's shooting sports. Barrett said he thinks "it was one of the best dinners we've put on so far and very grateful for all the community that came out." With an all-volunteer committee and leadership, it is also the importance of people in the community donating their time and support that helped bring this great event to Tehachapi.

Next year's annual event will take place in Tehachapi in August 2017, and the next near event will take place at the Shafter Friends of NRA September 17, 2016, in Shafter, California.


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