By Marsha M. Brown
There’s a lot of special people on the Outer Banks…you know that? Every year Mike Kelly of Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant takes time to present a much anticipated parade to celebrate of course, St. Patrick’s Day and this year was no exception. Family members of all ages either sat or stood in their favorite sideline spots to wave, cheer, catch projectile candy, clap…and laugh…a lot. Kids, adults and even dogs were seen in creative costumes (mostly green of course) and everybody had a great time. There were floats of all sizes, shapes and themes boasting everything from A to Z and often times they were propelled in v-e-r-y unique ways…but do you know what else was so special in Mike’s annual parade? Our veterans! That’s because Mike Kelly and Mary Ann Newman, position our veterans in the first position and veterans are showcased riding in vehicles, open trailers or walking the route step by step…regardless…they were there! Veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Afghanistan, Iraq, Desert Storm warriors were amongst the pilots, seamen, airmen and all who have honorably worn uniforms of our Unites States of America military.
The parade sights, sounds and laughter make you happy in Mike’s parades…because it’s a good time in the company of good people…and when you looked into the eyes and weathered faces of our older vets and younger vets too, it’s the very best sight to see. You can look at each one, applaud them when they pass by; wave an American flag in their presence; hoist a ‘thumb’s up’ gesture or even blow kisses as a way of saying “THANK YOU”. Yep…it’s always the best part of the parade to me! Mary Ann plays a major role each year coordinating the parade overall including the applications, line up, communication and follow up…so, a big hardy kudos to you Mary Ann from all of us who enjoy the fruits of your labor! Your hard work and collaboration with 100 entrants that include bands, floats, a variety of organizations etc. paid off in a major way! This year, again…Mike and those who helped him execute his St. Patrick’s Day Parade along with veterans Carl Reiber, Clark Twiddy, Bo Simpson, Kelli Harmond, Gary Kierney, Jeff Slaker and others deserve our gratitude for a job well done! As a veteran, you might have attended or even participated in the 2017 event but if you weren’t able to, please note that all veterans are welcome to join in regardless if you’re a member of an official veteran organization or not…your brothersand sisters welcome and need you to take part!
And speaking of events…in the not too distant future, “Dare Day” – (the first Saturday in June) will be upon us at which time it would be great to see you stop by the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council booth. Once there, you’ll have an opportunity to obtain your free Dare County Veterans I.D. Card for discounts on goods/services across the Outer Banks; meet fellow veterans; talk to members of the Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950; the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 and the OBX Marine Corps League #1264 about joining or transferring your membership. If you are not a veteran but you’d like to get involved with helping our veterans in some way, you’re welcome to call Jim Norrell, Quarter Master of Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 at (252) 489-9421 or myself for information or referrals at (252) 202-2058.
Lastly, this year some of our very special and dearly missed veterans who loved to take part, help with annual veteran related events and proudly walk the parade will be watching…not from the sidelines…but overhead with an outstanding unobtrusive view. We thank the Lord for them all…for their service…for their love of country and their love of us…and for inspiring us to be better people.
A lot of veteran news is in the making for GIG LINE. Please keep up with not only this column but the Dare County website where you can find a list of places to utilize your Veteran I. D. Card and other helpful information. Also, the new free annual veteran resource magazine will be available very soon! Yay!
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. Love each other. Love our very special and precious veterans. Love them in every way possible and with all of your heart. I love you all. Thank you for reading GIG LINE and for loving all of our veterans right along with me whether you know them personally…or not. Stay tuned.