By Dana Pape
Retired Air Force Officer and Founder of LKN Vets and Patriots
The LKN Vets & Patriots story begins with my retirement from the military. When we decided to call Lake Norman our “forever home,” we thought we were sacrificing the military lifestyle. We had been surrounded by members of the military, veterans, and their families. Despite the lack of proximity to a major military installation, we were pleasantly surprised to learn there are approximately 90,000 veterans in the four counties surrounding Lake Norman (LKN)! We quickly discovered LKN is a very military-friendly and patriotic community.
Taking action to support Lake Norman’s veterans
Our search to become actively involved with fellow veterans lead us to realize the largest organizations and events were usually held in Charlotte. We also looked for a directory to highlight local veterans in business, veteran-owned businesses, and businesses offering a military discount or incentive program, but didn’t find one.
So, with the abundance of local veterans, thriving small businesses and larger corporations in the area, we decided to take action. In late 2017, we created the “LKN Vets & Patriots” group to recognize local veterans. The group connects veterans, service members and their families with each other and to our community.
Veterans + Patriots = Huge impact in the LKN community!
Our mission is to connect and bring recognition to LKN military veterans and those that proudly support them.
We actively engage and network with local veterans, business owners and patriots. Patriots are anyone who considers themselves a proud American with a strong desire to help make Lake Norman a stronger community. LKN Vets & Patriots showcase a growing number of local veteran-owned businesses, veterans in business, and small businesses offering military discounts/programs in our directory.
What We Don’t Do:
We don’t charge membership fees.
We don’t take attendance.
We don’t make you do push-up’s…or march…or salute!
We are simply a resource to connect and recognize veterans and patriots in a casual, fun patriotic environment.
Where to Find Us?
We’re connecting veterans and patriots online through social media and our website. The Veteran & Patriot Spotlights are shared on social media and currently reside on the Papemore.com site under the pages “LKN Military Veterans” and “LKN Small Businesses.” Additionally, you’ll find us ‘offline’ & in-person as we host casual social hours & “FUNdraisers” that directly benefit local, veteran-related, non-profit organizations. We actively participate in veteran’s events helping to recruit volunteers, door prizes, participants, and to generate awareness.
What Areas Do We Serve?
Our main area of focus is “Lake Norman” to include, but not limited to: Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, Mooresville, Denver, Westport, Sherrills Ford, Troutman and Statesville.
Who Can Join?
Anyone looking to make a positive impact in the LKN community and support veteran initiatives! This is a public group with a focus on active or honorably discharged military veterans and their families, patriots, businesses offering a consistent military veteran program/incentive/discount, and non-profit organizations that support veterans.
Dana Pape is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and Chris is an award-winning video producer. Together, they are a truly unique and remarkable real estate team, Papemore Real Estate, that gives back to veterans in many ways, including returning a percentage of their commission to military clients at closing.