ROCKINGHAM – With Veterans Day just around the corner, one of Richmond County’s most active organizations kicked off the annual recognition day a week early.
Richmond County Hospice, located on US 1 North, hosted its seventh annual “Salute to Veterans” event on Friday, November 3.
Orchestrated by Jessica Mims and her staff, this special day of recognition was dedicated to the brave military veterans, living and deceased who have sacrificed for the good of the country.
Registration opened on the grounds at 10:30 a.m. with the actual event commencing 30 minutes later as the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard presented the colors as the National Anthem was played by the 82nd Airborne Brass Band Quintet.
Following the offering of prayer by Chaplain Chris Thornton, the guest speaker was introduced by CEO Kristina Leyden.
Special guest speaker Master Sergeant Peter Leyden, himself a 24-year Army veteran of multiple active duty deployments, offered his respectful acknowledgement of the services rendered by military personnel. Leyden dutifully noted the happenstances of war that might have turned out quite differently if not for the armed forces and their heroic efforts throughout history.
Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons provided a heartfelt “personal appreciation and thanks” for what the military has meant to law enforcement in general, and him specifically, by ensuring that our country remains a strong and independent nation.
Sponsored by no less than 25 businesses and patrons, the event was free (with lunch catered by Smithfield’s Chicken and BBQ) and open to any patriotic citizens who wished to show their support for military personnel.
And tremendous community support was indeed demonstrated, as approximately 250 people attended the outdoor event. Some of the outdoor activities included live music, food, special guest speakers, poetry renditions, displays of military artifacts, a canine demonstration by K2 Solutions, an AmVets flag folding procedure, the Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard firing of a 21 gun salute and the iconic bugler in the woods playing “Taps”.
Military veterans of all branches and different eras were visibly touched by the ceremonial procedures and recognition of their sacrifices for the protection of the United States of America.
Jim Parker, the local representative for veterans in search of housing and employment, reminds people of the “need to reach out to local organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), AmVets, the American Legion, and others who know what is needed and how to best direct the services.”
“They won’t ask for help,” Parker said, “but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it.”
Those wishing to help with future events of this nature or just want to contribute in some other way, are encouraged to contact the Richmond County Hospice staff at 910-997-4464.