Players will soon be getting lucky in the former Ralph’s Food Fair space in Grayson as the new Veterans Bingo gets games underway during the first weekend of July.

“We will be starting Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th,” said Earl Shaffer of Citizens Veterans Association, the organization in charge of the bingo hall and all proceeds. Shaffer stressed there are strict laws governing how proceeds from the new Bingo hall are to be distributed.

“By our charter,
all money has to go to veterans and military-related causes. It can’t
be used for anything else,” Shaffer said, explaining priorities for
the organization begin with the park at the corner of Main and Hord
Streets in downtown Grayson and include JROTC groups at West Carter
and East Carter High School, as well as recognized veterans’ groups
including the American Legion.

“We want to take
Carter County’s Vietnam veterans on their own honor flight to
Washington D.C. to go to the ‘Vietnam Wall’ memorial,” Shaffer
said, adding they also want to find ways to pay for meals of Carter
County veterans served by the local Meals on Wheels organization.


Shaking his head,
yet smiling at the same time, Shaffer said the new Bingo hall has
been in the works for quite a long time, and was essentially born
from a desire to find a better source of funding for the downtown
veterans park, as well as a visit to the nation’s capital.

“A few years ago I
became president of the organization, basically by default,” he
said, explaining supporters were genuine and enthusiastic, but
constricted by their own schedules and other factors. A raffle
project made money “but hardly enough to make any improvements at
the park,” Shaffer said. “We had to look
for a way to make money. Out of that, sprang this,” Shaffer said,
gesturing around himself toward the renovated gathering space in the
former grocery store.

Property owners Bill
and Edd Woods were beyond instrumental in making the idea a reality,
he said. “They have done a
heck of a job and they have been just great to work with,” Shaffer

The restaurant
inside the Bingo hall will be named in honor of the Woods’ father,
Ralph. “We will be
serving food when we open, at ‘Ralph’s Pretty Good Cafe.’ It
will be just concessions for now… burgers and hot dogs and chips
and things, but we will have specials and meals as soon as we get
everything going,” he said, smiling as he announced Chef David
Gibson, who is familiar to local Bingo players from his years at
another nearby hall, will be in the kitchen.“He cooked at Big
John’s for many years and we heard a lot of good things about him.”
Shaffer said.

Bingo “packs”
will cost $6 “just like everywhere else,” he said, and games will
be supervised and operated by another person who is well known among
regular Bingo enthusiasts in the area. “Robin Messer will
be our Bingo manager. She has been working with Bingo for more than
12 years and they all know her,” he said, adding “We will also
play the games they are all familiar with.”

Smoking will be
allowed, although non-smokers will have dedicated areas for


“We have installed
20 ‘Purifans’ and they really do the job. They will turn and
charcoal filter the air in this building – all of the air … in 10
to 12 minutes. We checked them out. They do the job,” he said,
noting the filters in the fans must be changed every two months in
order to keep up with demand.

Veterans Bingo will
host games on Saturday and Sunday, with doors opening at 4 p.m..
early games starting at 4:30, and Bingo action beginning at 6:30.

For more
information, call 606-474-0481.


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