HAMLET — Nearly 100 veterans and their spouses were treated to breakfast at Cole Auditorium on Thursday.
The event, sponsored by Richmond County Aging Services, is held three times a year and is entering its seventh year.
The meal — including eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and grits — was prepared by members of Roberdel Baptist Church and also featured fresh strawberries donated by The Berry Patch.
Prior to a “Missing Man Table” ceremony by AMVETS Post 316, the names of the 14 Richmond County residents who were killed during the Vietnam War were read aloud.
Following that, Dennis Holloway — Army veteran and AMVETS member — spoke to the crowd about staying active after retirement and encouraged volunteer work.
Holloway volunteers with Baptists On Mission, providing disaster relief across the country.
Jacqueline Welch, Aging Services Director also recognized the oldest and longest-serving veterans.
The oldest, at 92, was Charles Kilby, who was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951 and stationed in Germany.
JoAnn Blyther, commander of American Legion Post 73 in Ellerbe, served the longest of any in the crowd — a combined 34 years of active duty as well as serving in the guard and reserves.
Cadets from the Richmond Senior High School Army JROTC Raider Battalion helped with getting plates for some of the disabled veterans, passed out door prizes and led the signing of “Happy Birthday” to James Walker, who had just turned 88 the previous day.
Several veterans groups and other organizations had booths set up along the wall of the banquet hall.
See more photos from the event below.