Thousands of men and women risk their lives to protect the United States people.
The Yadkin Valley Cruisers plan to host an event to thank them.
The Cruisers will host their 4th Annual Veterans Appreciation Cruise-In on May 19 from 4 to 9 p.m. in downtown Yadkinville behind the Yadkin County Courthouse.
“It was first thought of five years ago by our then sitting president Larry Shore,” said Eugene Swaim, an organization member. “It’s just to show the veterans our appreciation. I don’t think veterans get enough recognition for what they do and what they go through.”
Swaim says that this year’s event will have a slight change. Instead of a flag folding ceremony, Rolling Thunder will do a Missing Man Ceremony. This ceremony honors service members who didn’t make it home and whose bodies were never found.
“You just have to see it,” Swaim said. “It’s about a 20-minute ceremony, and it’s a touching ceremony; it will humble you.”
The event will also feature live music from Maxcountry, door prizes, a 50/50 drawing and food. Chuck Knight, a Yadkin County Veteran’s Service Officer will be the guest speaker at this year’s event.
Swaim says that there will also be a representative in attendance who will bring memorabilia items from Vietnam.
“He’s got rifles and hand grenades and backpacks and things that we used to use in Vietnam,” Swaim said. “He’s also got some World War II stuff and he’s got a hand of sand from Iwo Jima.”
Another representative will have pictures on display that he took while serving in Vietnam.
“There are pictures of the countryside, pictures of the people and the people that have never been around it are impressed and the people who have seen it will bring back memories and stories,” Swaim said.
The proceeds raised from the event will go to benefit Veterans Helping Veterans Heal. This facility assists chronically homeless veterans coping with substance abuse and/or mental illness.
The facility can house up to 30 veterans and provides medical care and counseling in house. The purpose of the facility is to help veterans overcome obstacles so they can move into permanent housing and reestablish themselves into society.
“It’s not a rehab center but they do have doctors and psychologists and nurses to come in ever so often to check on the guys,” Swaim said. “They help with their disabilities and do whatever they can do for them physically and mentally. They try to find them a place in society that they fit.”
The Yadkin Valley Cruisers want to invite any veterans in Yadkin and Surry Counties to attend the event. Veterans will be given a free meal courtesy of the Courtney Ruritan Club and a free shirt or cap courtesy of the Cruisers.
The event in 2011 saw 136 registered veterans, the Cruisers hope for 200 at this year’s event. Veterans who are interested in attending just need to register the day of the event. A table will be set up behind the courthouse.
“It’s something that’s interesting for people who have never seen it,” Swaim said. “The guys from Vietnam never really got a welcome home and so this is something that needs to be done for the veterans. They risked their life for this country and somebody needs to shake their hands and say thank you and that’s what this is for.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.