Bentley speaking to support our soldiers

Published 4:09 pm Monday, April 23, 2012

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

Governor Robert Bentley will be the keynote speaker at the fundraising event for Support Our Soldiers, a non-profit organization based in Hoover and Shelby County. It will be held on May 23, the Wednesday prior to Memorial Day. The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. at the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall.


Support Our Soldiers is managed by Charon and Thomas Rivers, Sr. in memory of their son, Marine Lance Corporal Thomas Rivers Jr. The 22-year-old Rivers was killed in Afghanistan by an I.E.D. in April 2010.

Dr. and Mrs. Rivers give credit to their daughter, Rachel, a student at the University of Alabama for first thinking of the organization and its mission. A competitor in pageants, Rachel needed a platform and she wanted one that would give tribute to the memory of her brother and support other soldiers abroad.

The non-profit organization wants to acknowledge all of our soldiers and veterans regardless of which branch of the military they serve. “If they serve in any branch of service then they serve us all,” said Charon Rivers.

Support Our Soldiers collects items to make care packages to send our soldiers who are serving abroad. Some of the items they collect are crackers, protein bars, toothbrushes and tooth paste, razors, shaving cream, individual packages of baby wipes, shoestrings, baseballs, footballs, magazines and more.

Their goal is to provide items the soldiers don’t usually have readily available to them. “We want to give them a small token of our appreciation for all the work they do for us,” said Charon Rivers. “At the same time we want to provide them with items they need, can use and enjoy.”

A barbecue dinner will be served compliments of Shane’s Rib Shack. There are a limited number of tickets available for $25 per person.

For more information on the event, or to purchase your tickets online please visit Supportour

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at