My name is Dan Brashear, I am the founder and director of Western Maryland Veterans.
We are a grass roots organization dedicated to helping provide a place for homeless veterans in southern Pennsylvania, western Maryland, and northern West Virginia. On Oct. 25, 2012 your paper ran an article about the veterans support facility we were establishing at the old Bruce High School.
Recently, I fired a former assistant. She has retaliated with a smear campaign with the goal of destroying the project. Part of the allegations she has been spreading include statements that we are stealing donation money from the veterans.
One had aspect about a charity organization is that it's known by its reputation, and allegations similar to this type (whether true or not) have already done irreparable damage to our organizations reputation in the area we serve simply by being made.
I would like the opportunity to set the record straight.
I have personally spent the last 10 months traveling back and forth between my home in southern Maryland and western Maryland trying to find a facility to house local veterans in (The old Bruce High School and the Old McCool elementary.
We are still looking for a suitable building to buy or lease and once we locate the building we will proceed with the shelter.
I and my associates have established numerous partnerships with private, county, and federal agencies to provide the services for the veterans and the community in the more remote areas of the county that would otherwise be out of reach of many of the veteran.
I have personally acted as an advocate for the veterans community before some of the most distinguished citizens and groups in the county and in which we explained exactly what we were doing and how we planned to proceed.
For our grand opening in Bruce we invited all the county commissioners, the sheriff, and many other dignitaries to see our operations first hand, we have invited the local press for coverage to notify the veterans and their dependents that we are here and willing to help.
Recently the Allegany Sheriff's Office conducted a review to see proof that we are a legitimate.
The deputy was voluntarily provided with a copy of our charitable organization application pending before the IRS, he was provided with our federal employee Identification number, our registration number with the Maryland Secretary of State's Office and numerous contacts willing to work with us to make the program possible as well.
In addition, the deputy was provided copies of all of our available collection and expense records.
Another thing I would like to address:
Not one penny you have donated to Western Maryland Veterans has been spent on non-veterans-related services, support, or operations.
I do not receive a salary, our members are volunteers and have frequently used our own money and resources towards the project. We function fully open and above board. Anyone who wants to may inspect our books, Our containers have our contact information on them, and anyone may contact me directly at any time with any questions about us at 202-495-9727.
In closing I would like to thank the shop owners who have allowed us to place containers in their shops, and the agencies, organizations and friends that have stood by us,
We, and our supporters stand fully behind the goal of Western Maryland Veterans. Rest assured we will overcome these slanderous allegations and proceed with our mission as we promised you 10 months ago.