Thursday, April 26, 2007
Two receive lifetime achievement awards at VFW event
By SUE WATSON
A crowd of about 250 turned out for food and entertainment at the VFW Saturday in what is planned to be an annual event, according to post commander Bill Janssen.
Veterans and their families were treated to free barbecue plate lunches and visitors bought tickets with all proceeds going to local VFW charitable causes.
Lifetime achievement awards were presented to veteran Boyd Moore and Sue Clark, who has worked 36 years with the Ladies Auxiliary to help support veterans’ charities.
Both Moore and Clark said they were surprised by the awards. Their families were present during the presentations.
Janssen said this is only the second time the Collins-Hurdle VFW Post 5697 has handed out lifetime achievement awards.
“The first went to the late Joe Ridgeway and his wife Mattie five years ago,” he said. “The award is for a lifetime of service to others, above and beyond the call of duty, because they do not get a penny for it. Self-satisfaction is what they get out of this thing. These people are very, very well deserving.”
Local and state politicians used the forum to make stump speeches or meet the public and ask for votes, including Charlie Williams, chief of staff for the governor’s office, who campaigned for Republican candidates.
Williams said Gov. Haley Barbour, who visited the 155th Brigade in Iraq, reported back that some soldiers deployed feel disappointment and think that Washington does not care about their plight.
“We need to support these people over there, young men and women fighting for us and our families,” Williams said.
He urged the electorate to vote early and vote often.
State Rep. Tommy Woods, who has no opponent in this year’s election, expressed his gratitude to veterans and to members of the Mississippi National Guard, some of whom were deployed last year to Iraq.
State Sen. Charlie Ross, a veteran of Desert Storm and an Air Force fighter pilot, expressed pride in his service with the state Guard. He called the 155th “the best of the best.”
“It’s not just the living, but also the dead who are important because they gave their lives,” Ross said. “The most fundamental way you can honor a vet is to go vote,” he said.
He introduced state treasurer Tate Reeves, whom he said was instrumental in developing the family assistance program for military families.
Reeves, remembering his grandfather’s military funeral service, said he was moved by the words “on behalf of a grateful nation.”
He also expressed concern over “a bickering Congress.”
“Our leaders in the military are the ones who need to be making (military) decisions,” Reeves said. “But I realize it is the sacrifices veterans made for years who gave policy makers in Washington the ability to do what they do.”
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