It started with Anne Scharp looking for a way to remember her husband, John.
“He passed away last April, so I wanted to do something to keep his memory alive,” says Scharp. “Because of John’s passion for the Military, it seemed like a fit.”
In life, John Scharp was a dedicated GEICO insurance agent who served on the Advisory Council of USO Delaware. His support for the armed forces was the inspiration behind The Beach Goes Camo Military Weekend—a fundraiser to benefit the USO Delaware and to commemorate John’s life.
“We wanted to show the Military that we care, and show them a good time,” says Scharp. “These people are choosing to help us and support our freedom.”
April 24, 2015, marked the kickoff for the first Beach Goes Camo event. A weekend of parties, games, prizes, competitions (including a wing-eating contest!) and a five-kilometer memorial race/walk were held in Dewey Beach, Del. Camouflage T-shirts were distributed to all participants, with “Proud to Serve” printed on the front.
“The idea was to have people wearing camouflage around town to raise awareness of the Military,” explains Scharp.
To help fundraise, local businesses donated prizes and offered special discounts to Military members wearing the t-shirt. GEICO championed the initiative as a key sponsor.
“I had a lot of support from the GEICO community,” says Scharp. “GEICO is already a huge supporter of the USO, but they donated another $1,000 at my event. Tons of GEICO field representatives came from the surrounding states, and some from the marketing team in Washington, D.C.”
Despite some chilly weather, the event raised $17,000 for USO Delaware and had a turnout of about 450 people—a remarkable success for its first year. It certainly achieved its goal of promoting Military appreciation and raising money; but for Scharp, the highlight was the flag-raising ceremony.
“The kids and I decorated a flag with my husband’s picture on it,” she says. “We did a flag-raising ceremony with the American flag, the USO flag, the GEICO flag and the John Scharp flag. For me, that was the most important part of our weekend.”
The next Beach Goes Camo Military Weekend is scheduled for summer 2016. Stay tuned for updates on the event’s Facebook page.
If you are on Active Duty, Retired from the Military or a member of the National Guard or Reserves, you may be eligible for a special Military discount on car insurance.