News & Politics

Friends Holding Gun Raffle for Marine Hit Hard by Hurricane Matthew

Former Marine Staff Sergeant Amy Dillon knows tough: she was a former Paris Island drill instructor. When Hurricane Matthew ravaged South Carolina, Dillon’s toughness came in handy — but her home didn’t fare so well.

Dillon and many of her neighbors found their homes flooded due to the storm surge. Since they are not located on what is ordinarily considered a flood plane, they didn’t have flood insurance.

Dillon's Home, flooded by Hurricane Matthew.

Dillon’s Home, flooded by Hurricane Matthew

Dillon and her neighbors lost clothing, furniture, cabinets, appliances, and about four feet of drywall. Some was lost due to the flood itself, and some was cut away to allow the studs beneath to dry out in an effort to prevent mold.

Dillion also lost her treasured Marine Corps service uniform.

Friends urged Dillon to set up a GoFundMe page. And her long-time friend Brian Holcomb of Utah figured there might be more that can be done.

Dillon and Holcomb participate in three-gun shooting competitions. Holcomb, along with two Utah businesses, put together a contest to get Dillon back on her feet. They sent out a press release to media outlets — most of which opted to ignore it.

The release stated:

The prize is a custom AR-15 rifle built entirely from parts donated by shooters across the nation, including scope, case, and other accessories with an approximate retail value of $2,000.

South Jordan, Utah, company Vigilante Arms is performing a custom Cerakote paint job done in Dillon’s favorite colors, crimson and grey, while Springville-based Rangemasters of Utah is hosting the drawing and will handle the legalities of transferring the rifle to the prize winner, including background checks and shipping to an authorized dealer in the state of the winner’s residence.

With a day job in facilities management, Holcomb says he would have driven to Dillon’s house to do the work himself. Unfortunately, he notes the distance between his home in Utah and Dillon’s in South Carolina would make that unrealistic:

I discussed getting a whole crew together to go out for a week, thought about hauling a truckload of donated furniture and appliances, but again time and distance made both options economically unsound, we’d probably do more donating the money we would use to travel than we would by following through with either option.

That meant Holcomb needed to do something else:

So I decided that I needed to drive donations. We talked about a special charity match with Rangemasters, but those transactions would mostly be in credit cards, and would screw up their books and taxes.

That’s when Holcomb realized that he and his fellow competitors had spare parts for their AR-15s:

I then started hitting up competitors I knew and in 4 days I had every part including a case, scope, and magazines pledged. My local 3 gun match director provided the whole upper and arranged for the Cerakote to be done.

Dillon-Now and Then

Dillon, present and during service

With another company offering to handle the legal side of the transfer, the plan was off and running. Rather than sell traditional raffle tickets, Holcomb decided to have people interested in entering the raffle to donate via the GoFundMe page and then forward their receipt to an email address set up for the event:

With directing all donations through GoFundMe, the money goes straight to Amy and we never have to touch it at all. She’s able to access the funds as needed even while the campaign is still underway.

Readers: Let’s show an American hero what we think of her! Details on the next page…

To assist Staff Sgt. Dillon and enter the raffle, visit her GoFundMe campaign here:

Every $25 donated gets you one raffle entry. In order to enter the raffle, forward your receipt from GoFundMe to the following email address:

[email protected]

You will receive a confirmation email.

A Facebook page has been setup as the primary source of information for everything related to the fundraising effort:

Updates are also being posted to Twitter:

Note: the prize weapon is only compliant with federal law, and may not conform to the regulations in your state.