Jordyn Garner is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Benjamin Reese.
Meet the very hairy Air Force veteran, Benjamin “Spank” Reese. After 7 ½ years of active duty as an E-8C aircrew member and member of the Tactical Air Control Party, he was honorably discharged in 2012 and went into the Georgia Air National Guard to continue his service at the 165th Air Support Operations Squadron. In 2013, Major Reese opened Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar in Asheville, NC. After tirelessly working to build and promote it, he has made it into the busiest and most successful bar in Asheville. In 2016, “Spank” was honorably discharged from the Air National Guard and devoted his full attention to his business, Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar.
Business was great until March 2020, that is, when North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper decided that COVID-19 spreads exclusively at bars that don’t serve food, and shut down all such locations, including Off the Wagon. After 5+ months of being closed (but the bills not stopping when the income did), the former Major now resembles Hagrid from Harry Potter, and is on the verge of losing his business. Every cent saved from deploying to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) are about to be wiped out since the NC Governor won’t give his bar a chance to open up and follow all COVID-19 requirements and guidelines like every other business in North Carolina (including breweries, wineries, cideries, hotel bars, bars with a full kitchen).
So now he’s asking for your help – he’s seeking to raise $24,000 ($24,696.30 because of GoFund me fees which are 2.9% of funds raised + $0.30) to keep his dreams alive! This amount will buy his business 3 more months of time. Hopefully that will be long enough for the state to let him open or a new governor gets elected. In return, he has reluctantly agreed to very publicly shave off his beard and hair during a Facebook Live streaming event, enduring the commentary and wit of all people watching if the goal is attained. While this might destroy the rain forest ecosystem that has evolved in his hair, it will look infinitely better. Most of all, it shows how we can still come together to take care of a Veteran who has served his country, and needs our help.