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Our Veterans Are Appreciated!!

Friday was the 5th Annual Veteran’s Appreciation Dinner in Happy Camp. Karen Derry opened the meeting calling on Alicia Derry who is the Director of the Family Resource Center at present. Alicia shared that there are ten Resource Centers in Siskiyou County working together to provide resources for their respective communities.

Karen Derry and Danette Gentry were among those honoring our veterans

Karen Derry and Danette Gentry were among those honoring our veterans

Chaance Rasmussen, Rudz and Ella Galindo led the pledge to the flag. Dinette Gentry sang a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Some of the Rocket afterschool students had made decorations. Mooch Fedrick, Doozien Voyles, Brenda Harrison and Debbie Bickford were among the volunteers making sure the event came off well! Grace Gentry, Bailei Allec and Emily Parry were younger volunteers who helped serve the dinner. These and all the others who helped and supported the Appreciation Dinner are greatly appreciated!!

Grace Gentry. Bailei Allec and Emily Parry helped to serve dinner for the Veterans Appreciation event.

Grace Gentry. Bailei Allec and Emily Parry helped to serve dinner for the Veterans Appreciation event.

Tim Grenvik has been Siskiyou County Veteran’s Service Officer and said he is the luckiest person I know because his job is to serve the Veterans! His Supervisor, Sheriff Lopey, is always concerned with the veterans and has also been responsible for an improved situation from the little cubbyhole at the Armory to a nicer new office situation with even staff at the front desk.

Kevin Charter was the main special speaker and shared the history of Veteran’s day with those gathered at Happy Camp Elementary School, Since November 1919 when President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day was signed by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954. For awhile the date varied, but in 1975 it was moved back to the original date, Nov. 11th. Today we honor the patriots who loved their country and were ready to serve willingly when their country needed them.

Kevin Charter talks of military days gone by with Lou Tiraterra, Sr.

Kevin Charter talks of military days gone by with Lou Tiraterra, Sr.

Kevin lives in Mt. Shasta with his wife of 14 years and two sons. He works for Edward Jones Co. there. His hobbies are physical exercise and reading and he serves the community on the School Board as well as Little League. Kevin also recalled hearing General Schwarzkopf telling about efforts against Sadam Hussein and went down to sign up to join the military right then and there. His mother was surprised at the sudden decision and asked only that he finish college first, which he did. Since that time, he has served in many areas of the world in many different capacities from evacuation of Embassies, to operations in Iraqi Freedom. He acquai9nted us with many interesting facts about the veterans — In World War II only 11.2% of the population served in the military, during the Vietnam era only 4.3% served in the military and today only 0.5% serve in the global war on terror to keep the rest of us safe and secure. I was not aware that 20% of the population of Siskiyou County are veterans. He also mentioned that too many of our veterans suffer from service related disabilities, high blood pressure, diabetes, substance abuse and suicide, and need health care. Veterans aren’t taught to surrender so it is difficult for them to walk into the door and ask for help. Too many need behavioral health care, treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, are homeless or in need of other veteran’s services.

Jim McMillan made beautiful wooden pens for each veteran and they came up and told the branch of service and whether they’d served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. It has been an annual event to thank the Veterans who served and those no longer with us who served sacrificially.

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