By Alex Haglund
Oakdale resident Veron Auld, chairman of the Perry/Randolph chapter of the Friends of the National Rifle Association (FNRA), was honored as Volunteer of the Year for the Central Region of the Unites States at the annual NRA meeting in Nashville, Tenn., on April 9.
There is a distinction between the FNRA and the NRA itself.
“The Friends of the NRA is the 501c3 portion of the NRA,” said Auld. “What do we do? We help to raise money to fund the shooting sports.”
Auld was named the Volunteer of the year for the Southern Illinois FNRA at their banquet in Effingham this January, and then found out he would also be receiving the award for the entire central region.
There are 24 different chapters of the SIFNRA, which runs from north of Champaign west to Quincy and everything south. The Perry/Randolph chapter also includes parts of Washington and other surrounding counties.
The central region includes “the better part of eight states,” Auld said: Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, part of Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky.
The SIFNRA has donated $604,500 over the last three years to cover 175 projects in the district.
“We do this to help preserve the shooting sports, to help protect our second amendment rights, and to benefit the Boy Scouts, 4-H, law enforcement, underprivileged youth, women and children,” Auld said.
Half of the money raised by the FNRA goes into the NRA Foundation fund and is used to fund national events and programs like Olympic training, Women on Target, Eddy Eagle and Refuse to Be a Victim. The other half goes to a grant fund for the district. People can then put in for grants for their individual projects.
Locally, Auld said that the Perry/Randolph FNRA provided donations to seven different local trap teams. In Washington County, the chapter has helped to support the Okawville Clay Crushers skeet shooting team and the 4-H shooting program.
“Our representative directors and committee are all volunteer,” Auld said. “Staff are paid by the NRA, so at no time does FNRA money go to anything except the shooting sports.”
Doing what the FNRA does is not without its challenges though. Specifically, Auld mentioned increasing attendance and participation in the FNRA and raising awareness that the FNRA is a non-profit organization.
Those who would like to make a donation to the FNRA or who wish to get involved with the Perry/Randolph chapter can contact Auld at (618) 329-5729.