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Kruse Way Rotary Club benefit assists Operation Homefront

For the third straight year, the Kruse Way Lake Oswego Rotary Club will make another significant contribution to a worthy charity. But, for the first time in three years, money from its annual February concert will be used locally.

Two years ago, money went to support the tsunami disaster and, last year, the rotary club helped victims of Hurricane Katrina.

This year, the concert raised $8,438 and that money will be given to the Oregon branch of Operation Homefront. The local branch came into existence in October of 2006 and seeks to help the families of individuals currently serving in the military as well as troops who have returned home who may also need financial assistance.

'We help with repairs on homes or cars or any other financial situation that might come up,' said Operation Homefront President Dale Smith.

Recently, Smith spoke to the Kruse Way Lake Oswego Rotary Club, providing an overview of what Operation Homefront does but he did not anticipate what would come out of his brief talk.

'I received a lot of positive feedback but I didn't know this was coming,' Smith said.

The Rotary Club held the fundraising concert on Feb. 7 at the Lakewood Center and featured performers Aaron Meyer, Patrick Lamb and John Nilsen with his band Swimfish.

The Lakewood Center donated its facility for the event while Whole Foods Market provided hors d'oeuvres and Starbucks provided coffee to a full house.

'We raised about as much as we have in years past and we were excited to find an organization with a strong Oregon component,' said Larry Chadwick, president of the Kruse Way Lake Oswego Rotary.

The donation of nearly $8,500 is the largest that the Oregon Branch of Operation Homefront has received from a private organization.

This is the Rotary's 20th year in existence and, during that time, it has helped numerous charities.

'This community is phenomenal to live in. We're very pleased that we've been able to help out in any way we can,' Chadwick said.

The club's largest fundraiser of the year is its Wine and Cheese Festival, which will take place on July 29.

Chadwick hopes to get the check to Operation Homefront in by the end of the week.

'We thought this was a deserving (organization) because no matter what your feelings are on the war, it doesn't make a difference. Families are suffering and we're happy to be able to fill that gap a little,' Chadwick said.