Days before veterans across the country are honored for their service, members of the community will have a chance to honor local veterans for their service.
The inaugural Military Appreciation Day, which is being presented by Partners In Education, will welcome veterans, families and the entire community to celebrate veterans from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Shops at Ardmore (formerly Mountain View Mall). Sara Orellana, PIE partnership director, said the day will include activities that both veterans and community members can enjoy.
“There should be a little bit of something for everybody,” she said of the event. “We’re hoping to see lots of people.”
Orellana said the event will feature a veteran’s art display, a raffle, several military vehicles on display, information booths, live entertainment and food. Veterans and current service members can eat free at the event by showing their DD 214, VA identification card, retirement card or military identification card.
Orellana said the idea for the day started off when Army Staff Sergeant Josh Brose approached her about a community appreciation day for veterans. Brose said providing a day veterans can meet, share stories and network is something Ardmore hasn’t ever had before.
“In the Army it’s a brotherhood,” Brose said. “A lot of veterans , they miss that connection with other veterans so this will hopefully give them that chance to make those connections again.”
Rose said the Marines, Army, Navy and several organizations will be on site to provide information to individuals with interest in enlisting or seeking a career in the military.
“It’s a central hub and a one-stop shop for all things military,” he said. “It really means a lot for us to be able to do this and it’s an opportunity to bring veteran’s together.”
Orellana said organizing the event has been an emotional experience for her, as her grandfather was a WWII veteran and she helped care for him until he passed away. She said the personal connection and the proximity to Veteran’s Day, which is a week from today, fueled the organizers drive to make an event that honors the veterans of the community.
“It was perfect. It’s the Saturday before Veteran’s Day. So we thought that’s when we need to do it and honor our veterans,” she said. “It’s been a way to honor my grandfather’s memory and inspire other people.”
Brose said the event provides a chance for veterans to share their stories and reconnect, while providing recent recruits a chance to experience the community’s support.
“It allows them to see the community commitment to them and the communities appreciation they have for what they’re doing,” Brose said. Orellana said several organizations have come together to make the event happen.
“We’re hoping to provide support and let our veterans know we appreciate what you do, thank you for what you do and we’re here to support you,” Orellana said.