By Kyle Jillson | October 3 2012 13:48

NRA Foundation grant helps West Virginia high school realize marksmanship dream

NRA grants help foster the shooting sports in local communities

Parkersburg, West Virginia - NRA Foundation grants help a number of people and programs. Out of these, one of the greatest benefits is supporting the shooting sports in local communities.

The Parkersburg South High School's Air Force Junior ROTC in Parkersburg, West Virginia is a great example. Two year ago the program became interested in starting a marksmanship team but had no available funds. After searching for options to help them realize their goal, officials finally put in for a NRA Foundation grant. The request fell into the hands of Steve DiBetta, chairman of the local Blennerhassett Friends of NRA committee, who did everything he could to help them out.

"I called them up, told them about a couple changes they should make to the application and that they should reapply," DiBetta said. "I then passed it to [West Virginia NRA Field Representative] Jim Kilgore who forwarded it on to the State Fund Committee."

After being reviewed, a $6,000 grant was approved and the Air Force JROTC could finally field a team. Equipped with target rifles, rifle stands, sighting scopes, eye and ear protection and firing mats, students have begun practicing and hope to begin shooting in postal matches this fall.

None of this would be possible without the NRA. There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of local organizations and clubs in situations just like this. Unfortunately, they don't always know that NRA grants are an option.That's where Friends of NRA committees come in, to help spread the word that there's help out there.

"I'm just trying to build it interest and get involved in the communities," DiBetta said. "we're trying to show everyone that we're here."

And the message is working. More clubs from the area are applying for NRA grants. DiBetta hopes to see the shooting sports flourish in his community.

"I'm looking at getting eight to twelve grants from our area this next year," DiBetta said. "The air force JROTC's grant was enough to get them started, but they're going to put in another grant this year for a little more."

Parkersburg's other local high school wants to get in on the action and their Navy ROTC is applying for a marksmanship team of their own. DiBetta went on to list an archery program, four 4H clubs and some law enforcement departments that are all applying to grants.

"I went to an archery program at a Spencer, West Virginia middle school. They only had $100. Couldn't even get their bows tuned. But with a grant they may be able to sustain themselves every year."

That's the power of grants. And the NRA is just looking to award them to the people and programs that need them. Do you think a grant could help your club? You can learn more about NRA Foundation grants here and, most importantly, how to apply for one.

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