VFW’s free community cookout to honor first responders set for this weekend

Published 11:38 am Friday, August 19, 2016

Members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2166 will be joined by local and state officials this Saturday at a community picnic to honor police officers and first responders.
The free community picnic will be held at VFW Post, located at 2001 W. Elk Ave., beginning at 11 a.m. on August 20.
State Sen. Rusty Crowe and State Rep. John Holsclaw will join the VFW members at the event. Crow and Holsclaw will present a state flag and a U.S. flag which have flown over the Capitol in Nashville in honor of local law enforcement officers and first responders.
“While most people are running from danger, our first responders run towards it,” Crowe said. “In these especially troubling times, I hope that all of our communities will join us in honoring those who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. It is the least we can do to thank them for their sacrifice.”
Holsclaw echoed the sentiment expressed by his colleague.
“We want to honor those who choose to dedicate their life to serving and protecting neighbors, community and often, complete strangers,” Holsclaw said. “We also don’t want to forget the families of these men and women who serve us by supporting them in this noble mission.”
Both Holsclaw and Crowe said they hope to see an overwhelming outpouring of support for the officers and first responders at the event.
Post Commander Duane Gilbert said he and other members of the Post wanted to hold an event to show honor and respect for police and first responders who serve their community and all to often do so without thanks. Gilbert said the Post members felt it was especially important to hold such an event in the wake of so many officers dying in the line of duty and falling under harsh criticism.
“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.”
The festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Gilbert said they will run until “whenever.” The event will feature a full cookout meal, music, karaoke, inflatables and games. Those attending are also invited to bring along their fishing poles and take advantage of the Post’s beautiful location on the bank of the Watauga River, Gilbert said.

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