By Marsha M. Brown
When I write ‘GIG LINE’ each week for Sunday’s The Coastland Times, there are so many things I want to talk with you about yet…when I’ve reached the end of my two typed page column and I glance at the summation of my thoughts, I still see notes and earmarks of topics I wanted to include yet some still dangle on the page in front of me…pending the next GIG LINE.
That being said…I want to THANK YOU for all that you all do and I want to take this opportunity to sing praises (be thankful my golden tones aren’t audible!) about the many people who work to help our vets. I appreciate what each and every one of you do…maybe you attend veteran events…maybe you talk up veteran meetings…maybe you attend all of the V.F.W. and American Legion meetings you can…maybe you sit for hours and offer poppies to the public in appreciation for a donation…maybe you proudly display an American flag on your house, your mailbox or your car…maybe you cheer like a crazy person on the sidelines at parades and anywhere you see a veteran march or ride…maybe you shed a tear when you hear “TAPS” played on a bugle or hear a bag pipe sound off ‘Amazing Grace’…maybe your genuine love and support of our veterans is what you show off…and if that be the case…again I thank you. You make my sweetie pie Billy and I (and a whole lot of other veterans in Dare County) very happy. So, in this GIG LINE, I wanted to list some of the many folks that deserve honorably mention because what they do…they do for the right reasons…they don’t ask for or expect praise or a round of applause…they just do what they do…because they love and care about our veterans and the sacrifice, courage and valor you represent.
Dare County Board of Commissioners: just a reminder that it was them who acted on a request from private citizens to establish a board, committee or counsel dedicated to reaching out to and especially honoring our veterans in Dare County. On May 12, 2012, they did just that when they appointed a seven member Veterans Advisory Council…since then veteran recognition and outreach support has been non-stop;
Dare County Veteran Service Officer, Rhonda Creef: I always knew Rhonda was the point of contact locally for the V.A. but I didn’t personally know her or what her position entailed until 2012…now I know. Rhonda is there for our veterans five days a week however, she does ask veterans to schedule an appointment to meet with her on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to allow the time and attention she feels you all deserve. On Monday and Friday, she primarily processes paperwork; follows up with pending claims; makes inquiries on your behalf and she researches information to help veterans to the best of her ability. Rhonda has been faithful to the Council and attends all of our meetings willingly answering questions. Her office number: (252) 475-5604;
Dare County Veterans Advisory Council: originally comprised of 6 veterans who had served in the U. S. Army, U. S. Air Force, U. S. Marine Corps, U. S. Navy, the U. S. Coast Guard and one private citizen…me…(thank you Lord!). Each veteran Council member who was appointed at the onset and each member since serving today has contributed greatly to the betterment of our veterans. They are all wonderful people who attend meetings and engage in other public activities, celebrations and events to further enhance public awareness, honor and acknowledgment of our Dare County veteran population. No fluff…no joke…I meet with them regularly; I talk with them often; I hear their sincere convictions about getting veterans the help they need and recognition they deserve and I’ve heard their prayers spoken out loud from the heart. I greatly value each one of them and trust me when I say, collectively the Council is making a difference in the lives of veterans all over Dare County (and beyond for that matter). Their input has been seen, heard and felt and it will ‘keep on keeping on’. The currently seated Council members are as follows: Clarence Lewis, Chairman (Manteo); William ‘Billy’ S. Brown, Jr. (Manteo); Frank ‘Dale’ Draper (Kitty Hawk); Jack Leonard (Southern Shores); Lynda Hester (Manteo); Gary Kierney (Hatteras Island) and then there’s me…so proud to sit among them all. I love this group of men and women and I’m grateful they are who they are and they do what they do…for you. See www.darenc.org & search Veterans;
Dare County Arts Council, Director Chris Sawin: Chris has been devoted from the very beginning to help our veterans in ways we never expected. He has taken not only professional interest in the health and well being of our vets but a personal interest as well. He and his staff have created a means for veterans who wondered for years how to express themselves about their experiences in war and especially those dealing with P.T.S.D. Because he cares, he found an outlet…a creative way to bring vets together, just be themselves amongst each other while they learn how to write their dreams, their nightmares, their hope for the future and their desire to forget the past. Through the “Veteran’s Writing Project”. Chris, (though not a veteran himself), might as well be because he ‘gets it’, he feels the ‘brotherhood’ exchange between them when in their midst and he has a personal quest to serve all of the men and women who have served all of us. Chris is committed to you all…no doubt about it…keep posted on events for veterans sponsored/organized by the Dare County Arts Council…whenever Chris is involved, rest assured it’ll be a top notch undertaking, call (252) 473-5558 for more info;
Dare Home Health & Dare Hospice; Department of Health & Human Resources Volunteer Services Coordinator, Jeffrey Slaker: a veteran himself, Jeff serves as an Assoc. Member of the Veterans Advisory Council working especially with Community Liaison matters. He diligently sought a discretionary means for Dare Home Health & Dare Hospice patients/clients (if they so chose) to discretely disclose that they are a veteran having served our country. Jeff is emphatic about patient/client privacy and the value of an institution or organization knowing the men and women they care for who may be ill or facing end of life situations are veterans. He hopes that any/all opportunities for potential help or comfort be made available to a family, if and once, they voluntarily acknowledge their military service. Jeff encourages anyone interested in applying as a Hospice Volunteer and most especially male or veterans interested in becoming a Volunteer to contact him at (252) 475-5057.
CHECK OUT THE FIVE (5) NEW BUSINESSES that just signed up to offer Dare County Veteran I. D. Cardholders a discount! See www.darenc.com then search Veteran Services…and spread the word to your friends who may still need to get theirs!
Here I go again…so much to say…so many to thank and again more news pending for next week. Until then…be happy, be safe, be proud and thank you all (too) for reading GIG LINE. If you have a question or we can be of help, please contact me at (252) 202-2058. Stay tuned folks and God bless you all.