MURRELLS INLET (WBTW) - Men and women that fought for our country are now fighting to save the world and some money.
The VFW Post 10420 in Murrells Inlet is looking to install solar panels on their roof, after the VFW Post 10804 in Little River did it last year, all with a little help from some students at Coastal Carolina University and a California non-profit.
"Now's a good time to go solar because we're really running out of time," said CCU Solar Ambassador, Lucie Marshall.
The CCU students teamed up with the non-profit RE-volv. The $35,000 they're working to raise covers the cost of the installation, then the VFW will pay RE-volv a monthly fee over the 20-year lease of the panels. This is something they've already done with the Little River VFW last year.
"I talked to the people at the Little River VFW and they're very happy with the project that they did," said VFW Post 10420 in Murrells Inlet Senior Vice Command Officer John Averella. "So I'm hoping that after a year from now and we're fully installed that we too will be happy with our project."
"Initially there were a lot of questions, skepticism," said VFW Post 10804 in Little River Service Officer Al Stahl. "We started to install this last summer. Finished the middle of September, put it online the last week in September. And have been operating since then with only a couple of maintenance issues for a short time, and producing through the poorest solar months the winter time when the angle of the sun impinges on the solar cells is the poorest. We're making better money every day right now."
Even after paying the monthly fee to RE-volv, the VFW will save money as they drastically cut down on their energy bills.
"We have to somehow cut our expenses. Our mission is to take care of the veterans," said Stahl. "One of our big expenses, especially in the summer is air conditioning this building."
"One thing that we're having trouble with is raising membership, and that is because our membership is getting older and older," said Averella, "Our World War Two guys are gone, our Korean vets are gone. Every position down here is filled with Vietnam veterans right now, and as we're getting a little bit older, I'm one of the youngest guys here at 68. We're trying to get the young fellas from Iraq and Afghanistan into our facility and but they're right now raising their families and everything and it's hard to get them signed up. So any money we can save on maintenance or our roof or anything, you know cause the building's pretty old and we need to keep it up."
Today more than ever, maybe this brigade of veterans, college students, and a non-profit from San Francisco can teach us a lesson on working together.
"It's one of the few programs I know on campus that brings together people from all of the different colleges throughout Coastal Carolina," said Julie Emory of the CCU Solar Ambassadors. "You have a marketing major, you have a national security major, environmental studies major. So having everyone come together and work towards the same goal despite being so different I think is one of the best things I've seen at Coastal."
The CCU Solar Ambassadors have until June 1st to reach their $35,000 dollar goal. They are hoping for a fall installation. Click here to connect to the donation link with RE-volv.