CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, S.C. -- Long lines wrapped around the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office building on Friday morning. A line of veterans, both elderly and young, waited for hours hoping to get financial assistance from the Disabled American Veterans Association (DAV).
Friday marked at least the third time DAV handed out $250 checks on site in the Chesterfield County area. On Wednesday, the group aided veterans at both the Sheriff’s Office and the Cheraw Courthouse.
Word of mouth and social media is how DAV has been getting the word out there.
On Friday, deputies told NBC Charlotte at least one person began waiting at 2 a.m. The line started to building about two hours before the group’s 9 a.m. start.
As time progressed, frustrations rose. At one point, deputies told NBC Charlotte they were concerned a brawl would break out.
They believe around 400 veterans and military spouses lined-up hoping to get an assistance check.
A Navy Veteran, Lavon Avery, was disappointed.
“To hear that steady door slam and to not walk away with nothing,” Avery said.
Avery said he had been waiting since 8 a.m., not for himself, but for his uncle.
By midday, Avery was part of a group of about 15 people still waiting outside. They were also told at the time, the checks had run out.
Avery said he came to replace his elderly Veteran uncle, who apparently fell sick while waiting in line. The Navy veteran said his elderly uncle and ended up needing medical attention.
“We still have flooding on several areas. Still under curfew. So it’s important, I mean it’s good that they did what they did for those who got it, but it’s still a lot more that kind of need it,” he said.
“Uh, 100 easy,” said DAV Assistant Supervisor Bryan Kerouac, when asked how many checks they were able to hand out on Friday.
“We’re trying to be the organization to fulfill that promise to veterans,” Kerouac said.
Kerouac was also surprised by the turnout.
“That just says one thing, obviously: that this flood affected this area in a major way because I didn’t know that there were that many veterans in this area,” he said.
Alber Teal, a Vietnam veteran, made the cut Friday. While still standing in line, he told NBC Charlotte the check will help him replace the groceries he lost.
Teal also said, “It makes me feel like they appreciate it … what I did.”
Watching from outside, Avery said, “Oh yeah, there’s a lot of frustration. But if it’s for you, it’s for you. If it’s not, then you know, it just won’t be.”
DAV plans to distribute another round of checks Saturday. Kerouac said DAV plans to visit the Mullins, Nichols and the Laurens areas in South Carolina.