McHENRY – Sandra Barcus does her best to honor her son’s memory and support military families one day at a time.
Barcus is the founder of the Collier House, a nonprofit respite home aimed at supporting families in crisis. Her son, Collier Barcus, died in 2004 while serving in Iraq as an Army sniper, and Sandra said she wants to make something meaningful from the tragedy.
A benefit dinner will be held Saturday at the McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600 in support of her cause.
“We hope to bring peace to the world one family at a time,” she said. “The respite house … is a place for them to come, relax, regroup and remember their loved ones.”
The Collier House is in Clark, Wyoming, and has served about 100 families since its 2011 opening, Sandra said.
She chose that location because her son underwent treatment for substance abuse at Mount Carmel Youth Ranch in Wyoming before he enlisted, she said.
“The Collier House is a 501(c)(3) charity to support families in crisis,” she said. “Specifically focusing on Gold Star families and those whose young adult sons are in drug and alcohol rehab.”
A “Gold Star family” is one that has lost family members in the Iraq war.
The McHenry VFW will host the annual Collier House benefit from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at 3002 W. Route 120, McHenry. The event will feature a spaghetti dinner and desserts, along with live music, raffles and a silent auction.
Food will be provided by Olive Garden in McHenry, Sweet Pea Cakes in Crystal Lake and Swiss Maid Bakery of Woodstock.
Tickets for adults are $15, kids ages 4 to 9 are $10, and children 3 and younger are free. Tickets are available at the door.