Thursday, December 29, 2011
Clydesdale Christmas party
By SUE WATSON
The Clydesdale Christmas Store gave a party December 10 for troops and families of the Holly Springs/Hernando National Guard Unit.
Soldiers were treated to a sit-down dinner of stuffed pork chops and all the trimmings. The event also included entertainment, words of honor and appreciation, and lots of gifts for the troops.
Boyd “Sport” Moore, thought to be the oldest World War II veteran in the Holly Springs area, was given an appreciation award for over 50 years of service to his country and community. He left May 1, 1943, for the U.S. Army at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and returned to Camp Shelby for discharge on Feb. 2, 1946.
Moore is a charter member of the Collins-Hurdle VFW post. He served 20 years on the Holly Springs Fire Department, was in the insurance business, owned a monument business, and now enjoys retirement looking after his family and a family cattle farm.
Staff Sgt. Scott Poff, of Ashland, was presented the Bronze Star for his commitment and dedication and humble service including two tours in Iraq.
Sgt. 1st Class Earl Pasco, of Byhalia, was presented the Mississippi Magnolia Medal for service.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry welcomed the troops and thanked them for their service and praised the Clydesdale Christmas Store volunteers for the work they do in the community and state.
Sgt. Keary Jetton thanked the Clydesdale volunteers and presented each one medallions.
Families sat together and enjoyed seeing magician Kid Davie “eat fire” and do lots of tricks.
Soldiers were humble and had few words other than appreciation for the Holly Springs community. Area residents provided a send-off when they deployed to Iraq and Christmas presents for their families while they were away from home, as well as welcome home parties and yearly presents, and dinners at Christmas.
All smiles the entire evening after receiving his award, Poff said, “I’m honored. It’s a good thing.”
Chris Bryan, who enjoyed his second year at the Clydesdale Christmas party, said, “It’s definitely a pick-me-up. Especially this time of year. Things get tough on people and the food is always great. It feels good when y’all do what y’all do - it makes it (military service) more worth it.”
Lt. Tommy Reid agreed.
“It’s really overwhelming to see the community put this on for us,” he said. “It is very heartwarming to see the community embrace the unit.”
Reid is from Starkville.
Pasco, a veteran of the Vietnam War in 1970-71 and also of the Iraq war beginning in 2005, joined the others in his appreciation of the community support for the troops.
“This is a great organization,” Pasco said.
“The VFW and the Clydesdale people, they work so hard all year-round. They are morale boosters as well as good friends.”
Moore said he was surprised.
“To start with, it was a big surprise,” he said. “They tricked me (into coming to the party). It was a very nice award.”
Sgt. James Hamblin also offered words of appreciation.
“The Clydesdale Store has been doing this for us since 2005,” he said. “They offered us many Christmas dinners and they gave toys to all our kids when we were in Iraq. They take care of the vets in the area and they ask about soldiers and the kids.”
Sgt. Jetton agreed that the attention is needed and appreciated.
“It means a whole lot to us,” he said. “It is something we do enjoy every year and the soldiers look forward to it. This is about the only time we all get to see each other's families.”
During the gift-drawing ceremony by random ticket from the box, soldiers received many small and large gifts. At the end, four big, 32-inch, flat screen televisions were given away by random drawing and a Doughboy Pool, donated by Doug Hollowell, was won by Andrew Cantler.
Special thanks went to the cooks for this year’s dinner – Richard Novarese, Daryl Tice, Nubbie Hurdle, Roger Mitchell, Frank Schmidt, Bo and Terry Byrd, Linda Williams and Jerry Bolden. Additional thanks go to Mark and Maia Miller, Charlie and Jane Farris, John and Michele Stuber, and Diane Greer for the delicious desserts.
Ronnie Luther, who with his wife Brenda, started the Clydesdale Christmas Store 17 years ago, summed up what the troops mean to the organization.
“It is our way of showing our appreciation for what our soldiers do every day, and that is risking their lives for our freedom,” Ronnie Luther said. “The motto of our soldiers is close to our hearts – ‘Freedom is not free.’ Just ask any soldier and their families.”
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