New Political Group Using Veterans to Gain Credibility

By Paul Gable

An email to Horry County Council members from the Horry County Republican Party’s former 7th Congressional District elector, Jim Furry, introduced a new political group, Horry County Conservative Alliance (HCCA), while announcing a fundraiser to help homeless veterans.

As a veteran, I am always offended when political organizations, whatever their persuasion on the political spectrum, use veterans in order to gain credibility. It is readily apparent from the contents of the email that is exactly what is happening in this instance.

Titled “Rally for Veterans 2022”, the first four paragraphs are a discussion of the current turmoil within the Horry County Republican Party, including the resignations of party leaders, and how this new group hopes to build a “cadre who will operate the Republican Party…”

It is not until the fifth paragraph that veterans are mentioned in this “Rally for Veterans 2022” email. It announces the HCCA is teaming with the Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center to conduct a fundraiser at the Conference Center at Barefoot Landing on Saturday October 22, 2022, to raise money for the Center’s “Tiny Home Project” for homeless veterans.

The Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center is a wonderful organization that began as a vision in the mind of its founder, Kris Tourtellotte, an Army Vietnam Veteran. His initial goal was to organize ‘Welcome Home’ events for veterans returning to the area from Iraq, Afghanistan and other assignments around the world, to thank those veterans for their service to the country and to inform them of various resources, including navigating the Veterans Administration, for veterans in the county.

Tourtellotte had experienced, as had I, the less than welcoming experience of walking through American airports in uniform in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I publicized the various events and spotlighted Tourtellotte and his other volunteers in stories for a local media outlet I was writing for in the mid 2000’s.

The ‘Welcome Home’ events were well organized and very successful. They continue to this day. As the organization grew, it expanded into other areas including the ongoing effort to provide housing for homeless veterans.

I support fundraising activities for the Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center to help them with their projects and especially for providing housing for homeless veterans. But, I am sick and tired of political organizations using veterans to help themselves.

According to several sources who are familiar with the upcoming fundraiser, the Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center stipulated that this event had to be all about fundraising and contain nothing about politics.

If this is truly a non-political event, why are SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick, SC Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette and GOP nominee for State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver listed as guest speakers? Why does the concluding paragraph in the email state, “this is a great opportunity to begin a reset politics (sic) in Horry County…”

There remains a schism in the Horry County GOP with McKissick apparently working with one side against the other rather than working with both sides to bring them together as a state chairman should. The recent election of another slate of new officers of the county party, which has been given McKissick’s blessing, was not conducted in accordance to HCGOP bylaws, according to numerous sources who were present for the vote.

The Horry County Conservative Alliance appears to be nothing more than one side of the HCGOP membership, those who sided with the leadership kicked out at the 2021 county convention, under a new name to attempt to regain control of the party. Using a fundraising event for veterans, as an apparent cover to promote itself, is disgraceful.

The Furry email:

From: Jim or Ann Furry <[email protected]>
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2022 3:22:34 PM
To: Gardner, Johnny <[email protected]>; Hartley, Pat <[email protected]>; Howard, Bill <[email protected]>; DiSabato, Dennis <[email protected]>; Loftus, Gary <[email protected]>; Crawford, Cam <[email protected]>; Bellamy, Orton <[email protected]>; Vaught, Johnny <[email protected]>; Causey, Mark <[email protected]>; Hardee, Danny <[email protected]>; Allen, Al <[email protected]>
Subject: Rally for Veterans 2022 – Saturday 10/22

Gentlemen,

   My name is Jim Furry. Some of you know me well, and some probably have never heard of me. I moved to Horry County in 2008 and soon became involved in the Horry County Republican Party. As you undoubtedly are aware, there has been constant turmoil in the local party for many years. Recently, the whole leadership of the HCGOP tendered their resignations and a new team will be elected within the next thirty days. 

  A group of us have formed the Horry County Conservative Alliance (HCCA). We are not interested in assessing blame or putting our own stamp on the HCGOP. We believe that the voters are the ones who should decide elections and that the HCGOP’s mission should be to support Republicans whom the voters have elected. Obviously, during primaries, the HCGLP should not be in the position of supporting one Republican against another, especially when there is a situation where members of the HCGOP openly campaign for one candidate and then must turn around during an election appeal and must sit in judgement when an issue arises. This is inherently unfair, in our opinion. 

  Our challenge is huge. Animosities have festered for years. We want to have Executive Committeemen and Precinct officers serve their precincts and communicate information about Republican related issues to their voters. The role of the HCGOP leadership should be to facilitate events and operations according to the wishes of the ECs. This has rarely been the case in the past. As per lessons learned, operation of social media must be addressed and serve the best interests of all Republicans. HCGOP is a franchise of the SCGOP, and while the HCGOP should and will make their positions known to the State, those objections should not be to the detriment to the Republican Party.  Federal, State and Local Republicans should feel comfortable being a part of the HCGOP and not fear interacting with the party or be subject to attacks. We should all be part of the same team regardless of minor differences. Issues should be settled by vote not loud, public outcries. 

  Most of the members of HCCA are long-time residents of Horry County who are unhappy about the continuing foolishness and infighting. HCCA hopes to create an auxiliary unrelated political organization which can bring in members who believe they should be able to vote for whomever they feel will do the best job for them and not be guided or cajoled by cliques within the Party. Hopefully, members of HCCA will then carry that attitude with them if/when they join the HCGOP.  In order to build that kind of cadre who will operate the Republican Party with that as a goal, we feel as part of the plan, we should be more involved in the community, and in helping fulfill the needs in the Grand Strand, many of which you are familiar. 

  So, as our first kick-off event, we have teamed with the Veterans Welcome Home & Resource Center (Tiny Home Project), to conduct a fundraiser at the Conference Center at Barefoot Landing, 2250 Premier Resort Blvd. North Myrtle Beach, SC 29526. The goal is to raise $15,000, which is the cost of building one tiny home for a homeless veteran. From 1PM to 3PM there will be live music, a cash bar and general intermingling. Between 3PM and 6PM, food will be available, guest speakers, a cash bar, and a “Tiny Home,” Demo. We have definite commitments from Lt. Governor Pamela Evette, SC GOP Chairman Drew McKissick, and Candidate for SC Secretary of Education, Ellen Weaver. Candidate Russell Frey had planned to attend, however, there was a mix-up in the dates and he will not be able to be there. 

  Individual tickets are $25.00 per person but we are also soliciting business sponsors at three levels, $200, $400, and $600 or more. Two free tickets are provided at the $400 and $600 or more levels. We need 30 sponsors at $600 to easily raise the money. Hard tickets can be purchased from me and since I live in Conway, I will be happy to drop orders of tickets off at the Horry County Government and Justice Center. Online tickets can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/411964315257. You can also call 843-450-9792 or email [email protected]  The primary goal is to be able to place one of more than over 100 estimated homeless veterans in Horry County in a home. 

  I know some of you are military veterans and many of you strongly will support this type of event. Checks can be made out to VWHRC and are tax deductible. Any donations are appreciated.  Since you are leaders in the Grand Strand, if you have an interest in speaking, please let me know and if we can accommodate you, we will make our best effort to do so. HCCA will retain no money from the fundraiser; 100% will be donated to VWHRC after expenses.  The Barefoot Center advised they can only accommodate 450 guests, so we expect to have a full house. It will be a great opportunity to meet and talk with Pamela Evette, Ellen Weaver, and Drew McKissick as well as what appears to be so far many Veterans who are buying tickets. 

  If you are a business owner, $400 or $600 is affordable in an advertising budget. You will get recognized at the event; your company logo will be put on T-shirts; you will get two free tickets; your name will be put on the program as a supporter of VWHRC, and, at the $600 or more level you will receive a certificate of appreciation which you can frame and hang in your place of business. 

  Thank you for reading this rather long email; however, this is a great opportunity to begin a reset politics in Horry County for the betterment of everyone in the county as well as do something significant for someone who has sacrifices for our country. God bless you all as you attend to the people’s work and I hope hurricane Ian has not affected any of you. 

   Jim Furry

   1128 Fairway Ln

   Conway, SC 29526

   Cell/Text 484-241-1580

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