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Veterans appreciation planned

Suffolk News-Herald - 5/10/2017

Military veterans are invited to a Veterans Appreciation Day next weekend being put on by the Suffolk Elks Lodge No. 685 and Suffolk Ruritan Club.

The May 20 event will feature food, entertainment, gifts for veterans and active-duty personnel and lots of appreciation.

"We want them to realize we care about them, and we want to show them everybody appreciates what they've done," said Jimmy Franks of the Suffolk Elks Lodge.

This is the fourth year of the event. Past years have been more organized with activities and giveaways, but this year's event will be a cookout that is more family-style. Attendance was limited at past events to a certain number due to the format, but this year everyone is welcome.

"Hopefully, we'll get more people," Franks said. "It's like a family atmosphere."

Food at the event will include hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue and hand-cut French fries.

Entertainment will be provided by the Gator Head Band, which does Southern rock.

The clubs have been raising money the past year or so for a track chair, a modified wheelchair that is able to function in off-road environments like the woods. It is good for veterans who need a wheelchair but would like to be able to hunt or fish again.

After searching "high and low" in the Hampton Roads are for a veteran that would be able to make good use of it, the clubs finally decided to donate the chair to the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run, a Prince William County facility that welcomes veterans and their families for three- to seven-day, free vacations filled with activities, special events and camaraderie.

"We'll get more bang for the buck there," said E.C. Harris of the Suffolk Ruritan Club. "It will be used by different people every week."

The clubs also are working to put a memorial bench at Suffolk'sAlbert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery.

The appreciation event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.May 20 at the Suffolk Elks Lodge, 329 W. Constance Road. RSVPs are requested to Franks at 434-9240 or Harris at 620-8625.

 
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