On Friday, 6/26/2015, Operation 300 held its now annual fund raising dinner/auction in Jensen Beach which kicked off the Frogman Swim early the next morning.
In case you’re not familiar with them, Operation 300 was founded by Billy and Karen Vaughn, the parents of SOC Aaron Vaughn after his sad and untimely death during the Extortion 17 tragedy.
The mission of Operation 300 is simple; they do the very best they can to support and bring the families of other fallen heroes together in solidarity and provide some of the moments that have otherwise been lost to them. People helping people offering such things as trips for widows, family members and children, counseling, creating a tightly knit extended family, and so much more that I simply can’t do justice to in this space. Suffice it for me to say that if there is a stronger, more effective group working to help the families of our fallen heroes, I’m not aware of it.
The evening started off with a few very brief introductions and touching tributes, and a wonderful video featuring Aaron’s Sister Tara, who explained the purpose of the organization. From there an amazing buffet was served by The Food Shack of Jupiter, and then began one of the most fun auctions I’ve ever seen. Simply put, it was different but leveled the playing field so that everyone had an equal chance.
While I won’t try to explain it, it worked sort of like the online penny auction “Quibids.” The difference was the way the winners were randomly chosen. For those that like to bid with cash, there were several items, including the “annual knife,” a very special rifle; made, coded and numbered especially for the event that required deeper pockets than the items in the regular bidding. The donated prizes included everything from a huge basket of adult beverages to 1000 rounds of ammo, grills, and lots of fun stuff in between.
One gentleman did something extraordinary and awesome…he successfully bid on the knife and then donated it back for a second auction. There were other separate donations and a lot of much needed funds were raised over the weekend long events.
It is next to impossible to adequately thank all of the people who lent a hand to make this dinner event such a phenomenal success; however I will take a moment to acknowledge some of those that I observed; Ashley Le Grange of Women Making Waves and her group of young lady volunteers, Jade Smith of Island Party Rentals who did a lot more than simply providing amenities, the Palm Beach and Martin County Sheriffs and First Responders, the families of those lost, and the many who reached deep into their pockets to make sure that Operation 300 is able to continue its mission.
The really cool thing is that while the auction is over for this year, you can still participate. For those of you that couldn’t be there, don’t live in the area, or haven’t heard about this amazing organization, please keep in mind that while the prizes are nice and well thought out, the real goal is to help these warrior families. You can still make a much needed and appreciated “bid” anytime by simply visiting their website.
What Billy and Karen Vaughn and their family started in the wake of immense personal loss and heartbreak is amazing. At least in public, they never complain, never waiver in their resolve, and always remain upbeat, prayerful, and faithful. I am certain that in private they collapse into grief consolable only in the Loving Arms of our Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Very often tragedy brings out the best in people, and the Vaughn Family is the best example of that I have ever witnessed.Add a comment