Lehigh Valley

Operation Heroes Duck-A-Thon helps local veterans

VIDEO: Operation Heroes duck-a-thon

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - This Sunday, if you go to one particular event, it'll help half a dozen organizations all aimed at helping our veterans.

All you have to do, is buy a duck.

On Sunday, 5,000 ducks will swim to Jordan Creek in Allentown for Operation Heroes Duck-A-Thon, sponsored by the Jarett Yoder Foundation, founded by Jarett's Mom, Diane.

"I just look at Diane as an angel!" says Eric Johnson.

Eric Johnson is a veteran himself, and one of the volunteers helping with the Duck-A-Thon, but he's also known Diane for a long time, long enough to have been with her the day the casualty notification team showed up at her house.

"He said “On behalf of a grateful nation” - and before he could finish, Diane said 'Which one?' He had no idea that she had two sons in Afghanistan at the same time," Eric tells us.

Diane's 26-year-old son, Jarrett, an Apache helicopter pilot, was killed 4 years ago.

He served his country, so Diane continued his work, doing things like stocking veteran pantries with food, and working to provide housing to vets who need it and this Duck-A-Thon will help fund many of their projects.

All you have to do, is buy a duck and come out Sunday, rain or shine.

"We talked earlier and we realized that ducks aren't afraid of the water, and neither are our troops who are serving our country," says Duck-A-Thon Co-Chair Gary Barraco.

And this has a ripple effect for both Diane and Eric.

"When you become engaged and help other vets in need, you understand through their experience their struggles, and if you can watch someone else improve upon themselves, it's kind of hard not to have a positive impact on yourself," Eric says.

A little reminder, from a Gold Star Mom, with two kids still serving, and a veteran, determined to make a difference at home.

The event is Sunday, June 4, 2017 from 1 - 4 p.m. with racing starting at 2 p.m. There will be cash prizes and a chicken BBQ dinner.

For tickets, call Diane Yoder (610) 780-3500 or Gary Barraco (732) 241-6635.

To learn more about the Jarett Yoder Foundation visit http://jarettyodermemorialfund.com or the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JarettYoderMemorialFund/ .



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