By Marsha M. Brown
The County of Dare has much to be proud of beyond its pristine beauty…in particular I speak of its people. As you know the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council was created and officially established for the good of our veterans by our Board of Commissioners on May 7, 2012. At that time, our Commissioners appointed seven (7) Council members. Following that very special implementation, the Council held its first meeting on Thursday, May 24th and from that point forward to date all have done an outstanding job working together to initiate activities, meetings, presentations, outreach, help, education and support to the men and women we so value and love…our vets.
Council members currently seated are as follows: Clarence Lewis, Chairman (Manteo); Jack Leonard, Vice Chairman (Southern Shores); Dale Draper/Finance (Kitty Hawk); Billy Brown/Community Liaison (Manteo); Lynda Hester/Events Coordinator (Manteo); Gary Kierney/Outreach (Hatteras Island) and I as Secretary. In addition, there are very dedicated public members who attend our meetings so regularly that we have recognized them as ‘Associate’ members especially in regard to Community Liaison activities and outreach headed up by Billy Brown. For example: Jeff Slaker; Carl Reiber and Kelli Harmon all work tirelessly for our veterans and another faithful attendee to Council meetings is veteran Keith Weems. We appreciate you all so much!
The Council as a whole encourages public participation in the monthly meetings and invites everyone who has interest in serving our veterans countywide to offer their help and expertise if at all possible. Together the Council and all ‘Dare Countians’ can reach out to our much deserving veterans and assist them in countless ways so please join in the meetings if you can! Meetings are held on the fourth (4th) Thursday of each month at 3:00 PM at the Dare County Administrative Building, 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo, NC 27954 – Rm 168 (middle building in the complex, downstairs to your immediate left if you’re facing the reception desk). Also, note new policy: please sign in at the front desk when you attend meetings or do business at the Administrative Bldg. from this point on.
Our meetings scheduled through the end of the year are as follows, please save the date:
Thursday, October 22nd;
Thursday, November 19th (a week earlier than usual to accommodate for Thanksgiving)
NO meeting in December, as usual
At the last meeting held September 24th Jack Leonard was asked to serve as Vice Chairman of the Council which he willingly accepted. Congratulations Jack! Also at that time he suggested that all veterans who have a Dare County Veterans I. D. Card ask the businesses they patronize if they (the business) is a partner to the Dare County issued
I. D. Card and if not to please consider signing up with the other 50+ business owners on the Outer Banks who already show their appreciation and support for our vets by offering veteran I.D. cardholders a discount (the amount or % is at the business’ discretion).
For veterans who still don’t have the ‘Card’…why not? Please consider getting one ASAP, especially with the holidays fast approaching – you’ll be glad you did! Call me (252) 202-2058 and we’ll be happy to provide the date, time and location in which to acquire one. Remember all you need to bring in (for review purposes only) is your DD-214 showing ‘Honorable Discharge’ and your local Driver’s License…that’s it! It only takes about 15 minutes to get one and upon assignment of your ‘Card’ you can immediately begin to save money. It was a good idea that Jack suggested because with over 4,000 veterans in Dare County the Council has issued just over 10% of our veteran population their own ‘Card’, so we still have a ways to go. And by the way folks…who doesn’t like to save money? Don’t you like to go out to eat? Repair or decorate your home? Buy gifts for yourselves or others? Of course you do…so what are you waiting for? Discounts aren’t handouts…they are a sincere show of gratitude, so please oblige the business owner and go see them! Orders from headquarters!! J
Speaking further about our Council members, Dale Draper (former U. S. Marine Corp) has helped a great deal with financial reporting and Lynda Hester (Event Planner) with the help of Gary Kierney, (both former U. S. Coast Guard) have been very involved in recruiting public members help, transportation and outreach to our youth and our most senior veterans. Jeff Slaker, Volunteer Services Coordinator, Dept. of Health & Human Services, Dare Home Health & Dare Hospice and Carl Reiber (Jeff’s ‘student’ and right hand man) are involved in supporting veterans and their families facing challenging health crisis. Also…Clarence, Billy and Jack (former U. S. Army).
Also a special thank you to Buster Nunemaker of the N. C. Aquarium of Roanoke Island and his fellow staff for all they did to honor our Wounded Warriors and all veterans at a recent event held at Pirates Cove on Friday, September 25th during a very difficult weather dilemma. Thank you Buster for all of your care and attention to our vets!
Dare County Arts Council, Director Chris Sawin is (as usual) ‘as busy as a bee in a bucket’ gathering and organizing the calendar of events for our veterans for the coming months in particular November and Veterans Day week. If you are part of an organization that will especially honor our veterans, please get in touch with Chris at (252) 473-5558 or write: [email protected] and provide particulars so he can include it in his flyers and/or alternate advertisements. Good job Chris, thank you!
Our Council as well as other entities all across Dare County are committed to work in your (veterans) behalf – to thank you publically; to lift you up (on the pedestals you deserve to be on) and to respect you all. We invite you to our meetings; we welcome your ideas, your help and your expertise…so please get involved! We need you to help further good things for our heroes…OK?
In the meantime, be happy; be safe and be proud! Be proud of yourself having served; be proud of being an American and be proud of your family and friends who love and support you! Without you all…where in the world would we all be? Thank God for you ALL! Speaking of God, I pray for His blessings in your life, good health, safety and happiness. As always, stay tuned and I love ya!