Bikers, volunteers take part in 'Little Troopers Benefit'

SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - The Third Annual Little Troopers Benefit was held in Sulphur on Saturday.

Proceeds go toward deployed service members' children to help give them a special Christmas.

It started with a gumbo cook-off, but the benefit included much more than that.

Bikers also rode together to Jennings to support the cause.

"We go to Jennings War Home, the Veterans War Home in Jennings and back, just to show respect to the old-timers over there," said Little Troopers Benefit President, Dennis Soileau.

One of the riders, Paulette Baker, said, "It's a fantastic idea and we really believe in it and support it a bunch."

But the fundraiser was really about the kids.

"We raise money for the deployed soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard to give their kids a special Christmas," explained Soileau.

He said he always wanted to do something with military families and this is just one way of giving back.

Mikelle Ricou, Child and Youth Coordinator with the Louisiana National Guard, said, "We buy gifts for them and gift cards and we, along with everyone's help, really give our service members children the Christmas they might not of had otherwise."

Organizers said the event was not just about raising money for gifts, it was also about support.

"If we can just help alleviate one little bit of burden over the holidays to make it a little bit better, then that's what we do," said Operations Sergeant Joseph Moreau.

"We call it a benefit but we ought to call it an appreciation because it's all about appreciation for our soldiers and what they do," said Soileau.

Over 50 volunteers came to help out, from the car show to the auction, and even the band.

Last year, they raised $17,400. But they also shared it with a soldier, "who lost both legs and an arm in Afghanistan to help his expenses," said Soileau.

And at the end of the day, Soileau said it feels good to give back, "it's very touching."

Organizers say distribution points will be setup across the state for family members of deployed soldiers to pick up presents like gift cards, books and more.

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