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Veterans of Foreign Wars Present Boots

Representatives of VFW Post 12196 donated nine pairs of new military shoes and boots to the veteran residents of the Good Shepherd Sergeant Ashley Center. The donated footwear is expected to be a useful contribution to the formerly homeless veterans seeking employment opportunities.

Gerald Decker


VFW members Chris Pilloton, John Marone, and Gerald Decker of Leland Post 12196 met with Brian Mansfield, Director of the Sgt. Ashley Center in Wilmington (pictured here) on Tuesday, April 30, to drop off the donation and discuss other opportunities to assist the residents of the Center.

Amongst other activities and donations discussed, a Memorial Day weekend BBQ for Post members and residents has been scheduled and will be held at the Center.

VFW Post 12196, based in Leland, was chartered in 2020 with the mission to foster camaraderie among US veterans of overseas conflicts, advocate on behalf of all veterans, ensure that veterans are respected for their service and recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veteran’s service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard, and reserve forces. Further information is available on our website: Good Shepherd has provided services to the homeless since 1983 and is now the largest provider of homeless services in the Tri-County region (New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties).

In addition to the Sgt. Ashley Center provides 16 units of bridge housing and 8 units of permanent supportive housing, primarily to veterans. Good Shepherd also operates two other Centers: a night shelter, which accommodates up to 118 homeless men, women, and families with children, along with a day shelter
that serves more than 900 individuals, and the Lakeside Reserve, which provides 40 units of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless adults with a disability, including seniors and veterans. The Good Shepherd Center also operates the Second Helping Program, which re-distributes an estimated 500 tons of salvaged food to area programs for the low-income, children, and the elderly and to their Soup Kitchen, which serves up to 350 meals daily to the hungry.


More information about the Good Shepherd Center can be found on their website: or by
calling (910)763-4424.











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About the Contributor
Gerald Decker
Gerald Decker, Founder, President
Gerald Decker is a 4-year Navy veteran with four tours to Vietnam between 1968-1971. Gerald earned a Master’s Degree from George Washington University. He worked for nine years as a U. S. Senate staffer after college and later as a Senior Manager for a small business lobby organization. Gerald also taught Political Science at the high school and college levels. He is a certified trainer in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Gerald founded Athens/Oconee Adult Baseball, Decker Diamonds, the Leland VFW Post 12196, and Teen Scene, Inc. In addition to his work with Teen Scene, Gerald is founder and Past Commander of the Leland VFW Post 12196. The Post was the Mayor's Choice of Citizen of the Year in 2020 and was ranked #5 in the nation for 2022-2023. Since 2020, Gerald has co-written two books. The first was about his good friend and WWII veteran Alex Moskowitz. The second was published by Teen Scene, Inc. in Oct. 2021, entitled "The Great Lockdown of 2020: An Anthology." Gerald is still married to his high school girlfriend (55 years) and has two children and three grandchildren. Following a 15-year hobby of playing catcher in a men’s adult fast-pitch baseball league, his hobbies now include heating pads, grandchildren, and genealogy. Teen Scene and VFW are not hobbies. They are passions.

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