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Semper Fi Association makes its mark

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Lincoln’s Semper Fi Association is best known for its association with the Toys For Tots program, but the group of Marines and Navy veterans strives to be a larger part of the community. “The purpose is to engage in activities that strengthen the bonds of service, strengthen the bonds of camaraderie, demonstrate the best traditions of the United States Marine Corps and support widows of Marines…and charity,” said Frank Neves, president of the association. Though Semper Fidelis – always faithful – is the motto of the Marine Corps, Navy personnel can be a part of the organization as well, since it is the Navy that provides the Marine Corps with medical personnel. “What we are trying to attempt is to show the community what military service means to us,” Neves said. “So many times, people have the wrong impression.” Neves said the Semper Fi Association is working to quash the stereotypes that sometimes surround those in the military. “We’re not imperialistic or militaristic or killers,” Neves said. “More people in our service are killed because they choose to wait until the enemy fires the first shot. We go out there to perform a service to stop an aggressor that poses a danger to ourselves or other people.” While that is one of the main goals of the association, another is running the Toys For Tots toy collection drive in Lincoln during the holidays. “Our major project in terms of activities is Toys For Tots,” Neves said. Though the Semper Fi Association officially became a nonprofit organization Nov. 10 – the Marine Corps Birthday – it has been working with Toys For Tots since 2005, according to Neves. Currently, there is a big emphasis on tainted toys – any toys that could be contaminated with lead or another substance are immediately thrown away, and only new toys are accepted. “We will kick off (this year’s) campaign on the last Monday in October,” Neves said, adding that toy collection efforts are being expanded into Roseville and Rocklin. Neves ensured, however, that toys will stay in the cities in which they are collected. Other activities the Semper Fi Association participates in include raising funds for planned memorials at Lincoln’s cemeteries, honoring the graves of veterans on Memorial Day and helping veterans in need find the help they are entitled to. The Semper Fi Association currently has about 100 members, according to Neves. Meetings are held in the buffet area of the Thunder Valley Casino at 9:15 a.m. on the first Monday of every month. Potential members must be past or present members of the Marine Corps or Navy. Dues are $12 per year, or a lifetime membership for $100. “It’s a great group of guys,” Neves said. Additional Info: What: Semper Fi Association When and Where: Meetings are held in the buffet area of Thunder Valley at 9:15 a.m. on the first Monday of every month. How much: Membership dues are $12 per year or $100 for a lifetime membership