Volunteer Awarded "The Patriot Star"
Rick Crolius Honored for his Service to Work Vessels for Vets at “Hands UP for Vets” 11th Annual Fundraiser
Yes, there were tears. Richmond “Rock and Roll Rick” Crolius, US Navy veteran, of Groton Long Point, was stunned when a crowd of hundreds cheered as Work Vessels for Vets President and founder John Niekrash presented the organization’s cherished “PATRIOT STAR AWARD” to honor Rick’s dedication and deep commitment to veterans.
Work Vessels for Vets volunteer Rick Crolius helped design the Patriot Star Award eleven years ago, and he was more than surprised to receive this honor. The Patriot Star bears the embroidered star from a US Flag flown over Fallujah, Iraq. It recognizes the extraordinary efforts of individuals who are American Patriots helping our military veterans.
Rick is now in esteemed company. Recent Patriot Star Awards went to Eagles founder and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Joe Walsh in thanks for creating the VETS AID foundation and using his celebrity and talent to help Work Vessels for Vets and other veterans’ organizations by raising funds playing concerts with his friends. Past Mohegan tribal Chairman Kevin “Red Eagle” Brown was similarly honored for creating VETS ROCK annual events to help Work Vessels for Vets and others at an all-day veterans’ expo at Mohegan Sun.
Rick Crolius is an avid supporter and now Vice President of Work Vessels for Vets. In 2008, he raised initial funding for Work Vessels for Vets by holding a birthday party fundraiser. Over the years, Rick’s party has raised over $100,000. This month, Rick (now known as “Rock and Roll” Rick) hosted the 11th Annual Hands Up for Vets Dance Party at Groton Long Point Casino with well over 250 of his friends. The event was opened with presentation by the US Navy Silver Dolphins Color Guard and singing of the National Anthem by Captain Kevin McCarthy of the West Hartford Police Department. Captain McCarthy sang the anthem at Fenway Park a few weeks ago. The Paul Lussier Band played oldies late into the night. Work Vessels for Vets awardee Marc Harrell, USCG veteran, who received a 38 foot boat Vets to start his Noank aquaculture business served oysters to the crowd.
Watching how a small gift can make in the life of an injured serviceman is the reason why a group of dedicated patriots from Noank, Connecticut established Work Vessels for Vets, Inc. in 2008. Amazingly, since then, Work Vessels for Vets, Inc. has matched over 2000 qualified veteran-entrepreneurs in all 50 states with donations of $3 million worth of vessels, vehicles, equipment, tools, tractors, farm equipment, jewelry welders, goats, blueberry bushes, barns, computers, drones, electronics and more. And this is all accomplished by volunteers, keeping the administrative overhead UNDER 1%!, WVFV has earned national awards such as the TOP RATED nonprofit by Great NonProfits rating agency, the esteemed PLATINUM Award for donor integrity and transparency from GUIDE STAR and Better Business Bureau’s highest charity accreditation. Donations are accepted and veterans may apply on their website www.WVFV.org.