CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – It’s been three years since our last ‘Celebrating Volunteers’ was featured on 12 News. Well, it’s back!

Patty Saunders works at the Harrison County Child Advocacy Center by day, but by night, she’s one of the main organizers for Belgiumfest, which focuses on specific members of the community.

Belgiumfest (Courtesy: Belgiumfest Facebook)

“So, our focus is our local veterans and children,” said Saunders, May’s Volunteer of the Month. “So, we are a non-profit, and our mission is to be able to donate to local veterans and children, not national.”

2021 was the organization’s first year to do so, raising over $10,000 for local organizations working with veterans and children.

“So, we donated to Stars and Strides that does equine therapy with children and veterans, and we were able to start that veteran’s program,” said Saunders. “We also donated to Potomac Highlands Wounded Warriors Outreach West Virginia, two American Legions for their scholarship.”

Patty Saunders is receiving $500 on behalf of Belgiumfest and her volunteerism. (WBOY Image)

They also started a $1,000 scholarship for high school seniors in three counties to go to trade school instead of college.

You may be wondering how exactly they’re able to raise this money. What started as a social event to check on other members of the biking community, shortly turned into an entire weekend, Belgiumfest.

“It’s an old-school motorcycle rally. So, it’s not like a popular rally. We have vintage bikes. We have bands. We have vendors, food vendors. This year, we’re doing grudge drags, biker games,” said Saunders.

But, the organization doesn’t forget about its focus during the four-day event.

“Scarlett Kennedy from the VFW cooks a breakfast on Friday morning for all the veterans and everyone, and then there’s a ride for the veterans and first responders with a brief ceremony,” said Saunders.

Saunders has volunteered for the group a lot. Sometimes, another full 40 hours on top of her 40-hour-a-week job.

Patty Saunders is receiving $500 on behalf of Belgiumfest and her volunteerism. (WBOY Image)

“I love it. It’s giving back to our community. We are actually seeing things come from that, like the veteran’s group at Stars and Strides. They were able to start that, so, that’s amazing to see. We thought small, and we’re growing bigger, and it just makes us all, you know, that’s what we want. We want to be able to give, give, give,” said Saunders.

Thanks to the Miley Legal Group, Saunders and Belgiumfest now have an extra $500 to use in their work.