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Deployment party for Cottage Grove man becomes USO fundraiser

A member of the Navy and Navy reserves for a combined 25 years, Jack Taly of Cottage Grove turned is backyard deployment party into a USO fundraiser and Barbecue for the Troops. (Submitted photo)

Jack Taly decided his military deployment party would be better if others benefitted.

Taly, a Cottage Grove resident, leaves soon for a year-long Navy Reserve deployment to Africa. A backyard barbecue is planned for him Saturday, Aug. 31, but the event has grown from just a fun get-together to a fundraiser.

Several weeks ago Taly read about a "Barbecue for the Troops" fundraising campaign by the USO, a military and family support organization. The organization is encouraging people to host barbecues and collect donations for the USO.

Taly, a senior chief petty officer in the Navy Reserve, liked the idea.

"I just thought, well, we're having a barbecue anyways," he said. "It seemed like a good idea – make it kind of less about me. I thought I could make it about other people as well."

The USO provides information online to help people set up a fundraiser. Taly went through the process, set a goal of raising $500 and already has exceeded that.

The barbecue is mainly for Taly's family and friends -- more than 80 people are expected -- but he said the public is welcome to stop by if they want to donate to the USO fundraiser. People also can donate online at:

Taly and some of his music-minded neighbors will entertain during the barbecue. He and two neighbors formed a band named Lithic, which plays classic rock covers and a couple original tunes.

The band includes Taly on bass, Scott Rigby on drums and Pat McLoughlin on guitar and lead vocals. They practice at least once a week at Rigby's home and have played at their neighborhood's Night to Unite event.

The deployment party will be their largest crowd. They plan to play two sets during the gathering.

"We're just middle-aged, neighborhood guys," he said.

A member of the Navy and Navy Reserves for a combined 25 years, Taly, who is married, is headed to a joint U.S. military command base in Djabouti, in east Africa. He will be part of a supply contingent that works with partner countries in the area. It will be his first overseas deployment.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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