By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
South Fairmont Rotary Club will be hosting its fifth annual Veterans Day Breakfast on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, at 8 a.m., at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center at 1000 Galliher Drive in Fairmont.
The event will provide free breakfast to all veterans who register by Friday, Nov. 8. Any additional guests interested in attending can do so for a $10 donation, and should also register. Registration can be done online or over the phone.
Jim Chadwell, one of the co-chairs for the event committee, said it is an honor for the Rotary Club to be able to provide this breakfast for veterans.
“We’re proud to be able to, at least once a year, be able to take a little time to show our appreciation to the veterans of all wars, particularly those who live and work in Marion County,” Chadwell said.
The committee is co-chaired by Chadwell and Mary Jo Thomas, with Butch Phillips and Aaron Hawkins also serving on the committee.
“A lot of work goes into it,” Chadwell said.
Breakfast will be catered by Aladdin, Pierpont Community & Technical College’s onsite caterers. Pierpont Community & Technical College is helping to sponsor the breakfast.
“We’ll have traditional breakfast fare,” Thomas said. “It should be really good.”
The event is open to members of Rotary, veterans and the general public. Thomas wants veterans to know that all are welcome.
“It’s open to veterans from any branch of the service, and from certainly any period of time,” Thomas said.
Thomas said that the breakfast is a great time for veterans, young and old, to connect.
“You have young veterans, and then you have World War II veterans who are there too,” Thomas said. “There’s a lot of reminiscing.”
Chadwell said the breakfast program will have two parts.
“There will be a presentation on our planned Honor Flight, and Richard Robison will talk about his military experiences,” Chadwell said.
Honor Flights is a program to fly veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the war memorials there, with a focus on primarily World War II veterans. The first honor flight was in 2005. Honor Flights are completely free to veterans, with planes flown by pilots who are volunteering their time.
The South Fairmont Rotary Club would like to sponsor an Honor Flight in 2014, and would like to fly 100 veterans and 50 volunteers. The talk aims to let veterans know about the opportunity and to begin to drum up community support, Chadwell said. The flight will give preference to WWII and Korean War veterans.
Their guest speaker, Robison, is a senior program manager at NASA at the West Virginia High Tech Park, and served in the Navy as a naval flight officer.
The breakfast is at a new, bigger location this year, and organizers are hoping for a big turnout.
“I’ll be highly surprised if we don’t get 100 people, but we’re hoping for even more than that,” Chadwell said.
Thomas said that the breakfast serves to remind club members of all veterans have contributed.
“In a number of countries, citizens aren’t able to organize clubs and meet to discuss issues of the day,” Thomas said. “The reason we’re able to do that is the veterans have gone and fought.”
Thomas said that the club has several veterans among its members, including the club president, Melanie Thompson.
“We’re excited that it’s on Veterans Day this year, and we promise we’ll have everybody out in time for the parade,” Thomas said.
The program and breakfast are expected to run from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
“Wear your red, white and blue and come and join us,” Thomas said.
Guests can register online at http://www.southfairmontrotary.org/ by clicking on “Calendar” and then “5th Annual Veterans Day Breakfast,” and then clicking registration under “guest.” Registration is also available by contacting Thomas or Chadwell by phone or via email. Contact Thomas at: 304-366-2912 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Chadwell at: 304-366-0126 or email@example.com.
Email Colleen S. Good at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.