By Marsha M. Brown
As many of you know last weekend members of the Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 hosted their 25th Anniversary Celebration at the Colington Volunteer Fire Department in Colington. Even with the threat of rain, the event was well attended and folks of all ages came together to honor the men and women who have served our nation.
Carl Walker (a local favorite known as ‘Tom Thumb’) catered the event serving his typically delicious Southern meal of pork BBQ, chicken, baked beans, cole slaw, hush puppies and iced tea. If you couldn’t make it…trust me…it was scrumptious! And even though he had prepared for well beyond the anticipated number of expected supporters, the yummy fare ran out with people still wanting to buy seconds to take home. Cake was served and whole desserts were also offered for sale on the side. Compliments on the food were spoken loudly and repeatedly and between the dinner, the silent auction and the 50/50 draw, the goal of bringing veterans together for a fun, productive day was accomplished. Overall the event couldn’t have been better.
As I sat to the side of the room my eyes glazed over the activities and I was proud…proud of our veterans but also of the folks who volunteered their time to help just because they cared. For example: ‘Carol’ who ran her legs off over two days picking up items that individuals or businesses had donated for the silent auction then helping with the raffle tickets; Peter (a former Marine) and his devoted wife Jane who drove all the way up from Salvo to help assisted with the auction table, sold desserts and were used wherever needed; Billy & Brenda who live in Manteo (not being veterans themselves), came to donate an auction item and set up the dining tables; then there was Theresa and Jennifer (daughters of a Vietnam veteran) who exceeded all expectations by helping their Dad (Bo) far and beyond with the event & then Anna (V.F.W. Commander Clark Twiddy’s wife) who was a little fireball too going as hard as she could in advance of the event, during and right up to the end. V.F.W. members like Bo, Jim, Rick, Frank, Clark, Mark and Billy all worked together much in advance and during the event for the good of their Post. What awesome people!! All of them! And the business owners/managers who pitched in and donated items to help their auction? It couldn’t have done it without them. Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 members have a lot to be thankful for…and they are!
In spite of the negative news we hear too frequently nowadays from anti-military ‘whiney hineys’…the goodness of people who love and support our vets f-a-r exceed the bad. Desiring to help in the planning and execution of the special event, I too reached out to the public and I can tell you straight up that each time I made a call to ask for a donation, a food product or anything…I was met with a “Yes!” or “How can we help?” or “Sure, what do you need?” and/or “I want to do anything I can…our veterans deserve it!”. Over and over I felt re-energized – over and over I wished each and every serviceman & woman could have heard it. Over and over I thought to myself…for the veterans who feel sometimes that nobody cares…or that people have forgotten…they would have appreciated the conversation exchanged.
In just the last week, I received a phone call from a friend I used to work with in real estate but hadn’t seen in many moons. She called me – not because she is a veteran…but because she is one of many who care about them (you) and who has supported them (you) for years. Patriotic items, magnetic flags etc. she had collected in a box over time prompted her to call to see if we could use them. I was tickled. How thoughtful. “Yes of course!” I told her. “We always happily accept anything we can use to promote our vets!” so my sweetie pie Billy picked them up promptly. Thank you Sue!
There is so much good in this world…the only trouble is that by nature bad news travels faster and farther than good news, you know? But I’m here to tell you in no uncertain terms that support for our veterans in Dare County is running rampant. More vets all the time are calling on us to get their Dare County Veteran I. D. Card; more veterans are interested in participating in the upcoming parades, plays, Memorial Services and in joining Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 and The American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26. In fact, two vets joined the V.F.W. Post 10950 last week and at the last American Legion meeting this past week there were 20 members present! WOW! Vets who transferred their membership there included one veteran who had been a member for 50 years…talk about loyalty! Just imagine supporting your brothers and sisters like that!
I know I talk to y’all a lot about joining our local organizations…maybe I even harp on it…but so be it. They need you and you need them…and that’s all there is to it! If its Poppy flower donation booths, a fish fry, a BBQ, a dance (I’m hoping…even though my Billy teases me about how I “Stand in one spot as if wildly firing two pistols at the same time.”) I love music & watching everybody twirl around because events like that are fun and could help V.F.W. members acquire donations to buy supplies for wheel chair ramps etc. Besides…why wouldn’t a veteran want to be in involved in organizations that honor veterans? (you?). It’s up to you guys and gals but I sure wish you’d think about it.
By the way folks…remember that Memorial Day is coming soon. If you can get a chance prior to that time, how about sitting down with your children, grandchildren or even with your employees for that matter and read out loud In Flanders Fields. It’s a touching WWI war poem written by John McCrae, a Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel. Read the words and make them matter. Help those around you whom you love or care about to understand what prompts the establishment of donation booths where V.F.W. and American Legion members offer a thank you Poppy flower for your donation. And picture, if you will…just for a minute…the significance of putting a donation into their jar or basket; be prepared to explain to our youth that the beautiful poignant poem written about the countless crosses amidst fields of red Poppies signify honor, pride in country and the ultimate sacrifice. And when someone asks you why there are Poppy booths or where the donation proceeds go…explain to them there are several benefits. The veteran (or family member) collecting is proud that you cared that they or someone they loved served our nation; that the monies tallied at the end of the day will help maintain our veteran meeting places and further promote our veterans; tell them that the little flower is further evidence of your patriotism and of things good for our veterans; tell them that sometimes veterans tear up while manning the booths in remembrance of their fallen heroes; tell them and encourage them to take part and lift up the most deserving among us…our veterans; challenge fellow organizations that you’re a part of to also collect funds to donate to the cause…because it’s simple, quick and very worthy of their time and their money; inspire everyone around you at home, school and work to show support to our veterans whenever and wherever they can each and every day because no day in our free and beautiful country should EVER be taken for granted.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veteran’s Day is still ahead of us and we have much to do together to show our men and women in Dare County that service to country, honor and remembrance of all things important will keep us strong against the wind that blows against us.
If we can be of help to you; if you’d like to become involved in activities for our veterans or if you’re a local, Dare County veteran who would like to get your Dare County Veteran I. D. Card and enjoy the discounts many local businesses offer you (when you present the I. D. Card) as a show of their gratitude, please call me (252) 202-2058. God bless you all and thank you for reading GIG LINE. ‘People Are Talking’…they really are and in this case gossip is GOOD! Please keep it up and stay tuned.