By Marsha M. Brown
I think this is a good time to remind everyone that we have a lot going on for veterans in Dare County but honestly and in my opinion? There can never be enough.
When you all hear me talk about the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council or even about GIG LINE itself, please understand that I certainly don’t mean to imply that all of a sudden and never before have our veterans been thought of, celebrated, honored and remembered…because they certainly have been for years in our beloved Dare County. Its that I think a lot more can be done not only for our veterans, their wives, husbands, sons and daughters but also for the benefit of the children not privileged to have had a service man or woman in their family to further appreciate the military.
I get excited when I hear that more veterans are joining the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 and that the V.F.W. Outer Banks Post 10950 has revved up, kicked back into gear and that they’re rolling with more enthusiasm than ever! But I want more! I want EVERYBODY who has served our country to embrace the new enthusiasm that seems to be taking hold. All of you who have served are a special and unique bunch of heroes. The mood Dare Countians seem to be displaying of late (especially) is to rally around you and show veterans their appreciation. To me…that means that when we have special events anywhere/everywhere on the Outer Banks, that YOU, our veterans, should be there in the middle of it…if you are able.
As I’ve mentioned before…on Sunday, March 16th Mike Kelly’s 25th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade should make you proud. Its theme this year is ‘OUTER BANKS HEROES’. Now please pacify me for a second…we’re all busy right? We have our families, homes, church, work…part time work…appointments, civic meetings and places we volunteer and without question and no matter our age, we still juggle the hours in a day to accomplish everything we need to do. But sometimes, no matter what…we need to set aside time to participate in worthy events.
This Parade will be another special chance to stand out and shine as a veteran. There’s time now to plan ahead with fellow veterans through the American Legion or the V.F.W. to walk or ride in the Parade and be celebrated publically. Let folks see that you served…be in the mix with other HEROES…let people clap for you, hoop, holler and whistle when you pass them by on that one mile stretch of glory.
Today many of our golden heroes have bad backs; hip, knee, ankle pain and stiff joints. Some are short of breath; some have conditions that require oxygen around the clock and sadly some may think that it won’t even matter if they are there or not…but listen people…it WILL matter…it DOES matter…PLEASE know how important you are and PLEASE let us show you. If you can’t walk…or you’re in a wheelchair, it’s not a problem. We’ll find a means for you to take part…be it on a float, in a convertible; on a golf cart or in the back of a boat pulled by a trailer…we’ll do everything we can to make sure you can participate! But…what we need from you is your interest and commitment so that we can plan accordingly. You’d make veteran supporters very happy to see you take part, so please try to be there that day.
And…after the Parade is finished, everybody is planning to go back to Kelly’s Restaurant and Tavern to meet. There…we’ll be available and on hand for veterans to present their DD-214 and proof of local address at which time they’ll be issued their Dare County Veteran I. D. Card (which will enable Dare County veterans to receive discounts at 21 different Outer Banks businesses).
You’ll also have an opportunity to join the local V.F.W. and American Legion Posts; meet Veterans Advisory Council members and enjoy the festivities and veteran fellowship. For contact information to acknowledge you’d like to participate in the Parade, of if you wish to be of help in any way, please call one of the following people:
Billy Brown: U. S. Army Vietnam Veteran; Member of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council, the V.F.W., the American Legion and the Fraternal Order of Eagles @ (252) 202-0798;
Clarence Lewis: U. S. Army, Ret.; Commander of the American Legion; Chairman of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council @ (252) 305-1934;
Jim Norrell: U. S. Army Vietnam Veteran; Quarter Master V.F.W. @ (252) 489-9421.
If you’d like to get your I.D. Card prior to the parade date in March, we’ll be issuing them each Wednesday, beginning February 5, 2014 between 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM at the Dare County Administrative Building in Manteo (Courthouse complex). At each scheduled date for I. D. Card issuance, we’ll provide you with a list of the 21 participating businesses (to date) describing the discount they offer.
Lastly, more businesses are interested in signing up to honor you, so keep in touch, keep reading GIG LINE and call me with any questions or comments as I always welcome your thoughts! You are always on my mind and in my heart. You’re special and wonderful folks who have done more for all of us than we can ever pay back in gratitude.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud! Thank each and every veteran you see and if you aren’t sure whether they are or not…ASK them…then thank them, hug them or shake their hand. My sweetie pie and I hope to see you all soon. Take care and stay tuned!