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Avery County to Host Various Veterans Day Events

By Tim Gardner

Several Veterans Day events will be held in Avery County to honor those who have served in the United State Armed Forces.

On Friday, November 9, the Avery County Senior Center will sponsor its annual Veterans Breakfast, beginning at 8:00 a.m. It will be held in the Center’s cafeteria. The center is located at 165 Schultz Center, next to the Avery County Health Department and between the Avery Court House and the Avery Administration building.

The Senior Center is partnering with Caregiver’s Haven, Avery High School’s JROTC and a host of volunteers to honor veterans. The program will last approximately one-and-one-half hours. Bob Storey, a United States Navy Veteran will be the featured speaker. Storey was a First Class Petty Officer and Aviation Storekeeper while serving in the Navy.

Immediately following the breakfast, veterans are welcome to ride the Avery High JROTC bus to the high school for a Veterans Recognition Assembly there. That program will commence at 10:30 a.m.

There also will be a Living History Veterans program in the Avery High cafeteria from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday that will precede the assembly program.

All attending are encouraged to Red, White and Blue to the high school programs to support the veterans. Any Avery Schools System student who has a family member who is a veteran should report to the cafeteria at 10:15 .m. to escort that family member to the gymnasium for the assembly program. 

Additionally, the Avery County Rotary Club is hosting its fourth annual Veteran’s Day celebration on Monday, November 12.

In an effort to honor veterans and celebrate their service to our great nation, this county-wide event will include a luncheon and special program for the veterans. This celebration will be held at the Best Western Mountain Lodge in Banner Elk, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

All Avery Countians are invited to attend. Veterans and their family members receive a complimentary lunch.   The meal also will be available to other guests for $8 per person.

The event’s guest speaker will be Dick Larson of Banner Elk. Larson grew up in upstate New York and completed his undergraduate education at Cornell University. He entered the United States Marine Corps after graduation. He spent six years as a Marine officer and jet pilot, including a year in South Vietnam.

Larson was then accepted into medical school at Duke University where he spent the next ten years. He completed medical school and then residency training as a general and vascular surgeon. The following 20 years of his professional career were spent in Greenville, NC in private practice while also serving a clinical appointment on the East Carolina University School of Medicine faculty.

Larson retired in 2000 and lives with his wife, Carol, in Banner Elk. Since July of 2017, he has been the director of Feeding Avery Families, helping to feed hungry people in the county. He has also been active in Banner Elk Presbyterian Church.

Music at the Avery Rotary’s Veterans Celebration will be provided by Jessie Smith, a local talent. Various other presentations also will be made, including by the Avery High School Color Guard and local dignitaries.

Lees-McRae College, Medi-Home Hospice, Best Western Mountain Lodge and Gadabouts Catering are sponsors of this year’s event.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Avery County Rotary’s President averycountyrotary@gmail.com or by phone (828) 898-2489.

In observance of Veterans Day and since it falls on a Sunday this year, all Avery County Government offices will be closed on Monday, November 12 as will all Federal and State of North Carolina government offices. There also will be no U.S. Mail Deliveries on Monday.

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11 that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service. It is also not to be confused with Armed Forces Day, a minor U.S. remembrance that also occurs in May, which specifically honors those currently serving in the United States Military.