VFW to host community event honoring police, first responders

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye  On August 20, VFW Post 2166 will host a community event to honor local police and first responders.

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
On August 20, VFW Post 2166 will host a community event to honor local police and first responders.

A local veterans service organization is hosting a special community event this month to pay respect and honor to the area’s law enforcement officers and first responders.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2166, located at 2001 W. Elk Avenue, will hold a special cookout and day full of activities on August 20 starting at 11 a.m. at the Post.
The purpose of the event, according to Post Commander Duane Gilbert, is to honor and show respect for police and first responders who all too often do a thankless job for the community they serve.
“We at the Veterans of Foreign Wars have been appalled at the way police and first responders are being treated in some places here in the U.S.,” Gilbert said. “We felt we should do something to show honor and respect to our police and first responders. In that regard, we created a day to honor them.”
Gilbert said the festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. and run until “whenever.” The free community event will feature a full meal cookout, a bluegrass and country band, karaoke, inflatables for children and corn hole games. Activities will be going on inside the great hall as well as at the Post’s pavilion behind the main building.
“We’re advising everyone to bring their fishing poles if they so desire because we are right on the banks of the Watauga River,” Gilbert said.
A special invitation to attend is being extended to all local law enforcement officers and first responders as well as their families. The event is also open to anyone in the community who wants to come out and show their support and respect for police and first responders.
“This is totally for the community to show respect and appreciation for our police and first responders,” Gilbert said. “It should be a real good time for a family gathering.”
The meal will feature a little something for everyone, said Rick Norman, Canteen Manager at the Post.
“Just about anything you can think of that is typical food for a cookout,” Norman said. “We might even do a pig picking, there has been some talk about doing one.”
The hardest part about getting ready for the meal so far, Norman said, has been no knowing how much food to prepare since they do not know how many people will turn out for the event.
“We will be prepared for hopefully several hundred folks to come down,” Norman said.
Norman said he hopes to see the whole community come out to show their support for local officers.
“We at Post 2166 respect and honor our veterans every day. It’s what we do,” Norman said. “We wanted to take a day to do the same for our police and first responders. This is one day that we want to thank those folks out there in the community helping us and battling for us every day.”
Gilbert said the Post members are giving serious thought to making this special day an annual event for the community. Norman said he would like to see the event take place each year and grow into one of the largest events in the community.
So far, Gilbert said the idea has been well received by the community.
“We received donations from Rep. John Holsclaw and Sen. Rusty Crowe,” Gilbert said. “We’ve also received gift cards from several of the local businesses.”
Those donations will help offset the Post’s costs in hosting the free event, he added. Anyone who wishes to donate money or items to help with the event can contact Duane Gilbert at 423-213-4212, Post Quartermaster Robert Phillips at 813-493-2246 or the VFW Post 2166 at 423-542-0520.

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