Honoring our Veterans
The November meeting’s theme and purpose was to Honor our Veterans. Fran Hancock, President, kicked off the meeting and then the Invocation and Pledge were led by Virginia Brooks.
Fran introduced our keynote speaker, Staff Sergeant Brian Mast. SSG Mast now resides in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with his wife of 8 years, Brianna, and his 4 and 2 year old sons Magnum and Maverick, and are expecting a little girl in February. He is a full time student of Economics at Harvard University, an Explosive Specialist with the Department of Homeland Security, and a tireless advocate working to bring awareness to many veteran and non-profit organizations.
Brian gave an impassioned speech thanking our Veterans from all wars, and all who served in any capacity. He began by describing the huge number of non-profit organizations that exist to make life better for those who served, and how life for the vets from the more recent conflicts is far better than the treatment that our Vietnam Vets received upon returning home. There was not a dry eye in the house as Brian described the various ways in which veterans have given of themselves with their every action. He recounted in detail the night in which he lost both of his legs in Afghanistan. Brian had gone ahead of his team to check for IEDs – which he was sure were there. He gave the all clear and headed in for the mission when he stepped on a mine a few feet into the compound. SSG Mast described his rescue and waking up 5 days later at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He also honored the 67 friends he lost in Afghanistan. SSG Mast is a true patriot and Fran indicated that he may be running for office in the near future. We would all be well served to have such an outstanding individual represent us in the future.
Our next speaker, club member Chris Noel, echoed the experiences of those who served in Vietnam. As an actress/singer who went to Vietnam in the 1960’s with Bob Hope and the USO to entertain and support veterans when most of the Hollywood” crowd did not, she saw what those in the military had to endure both in Vietnam and upon their return. She continued to be driven to help our veterans and formed Vetsville to provide housing for homeless vets and to help them return to productive lives.
Last on our agenda were candidate for the REC leadership: Mike Barnett, running for Chair; Pam Wohlschegel, running for Vice-Chair; and Cheryl Mullings, running for Secretary.
Delia’s pictures from the event:
- Chris Noel, Brian Mast, Mike DeLong
- Martha and Dr. Bill Adkins
- Fran Hancock, Brian Mast
- Clockwise from upper left Mercedes Garcia, Georgina More, Adele Kirkpatrick, Geri Lyons, Linda Stoch,
- Bette Anne Starkey, Alice Van Nostrand
- Carol LaPlaca, Blanche Lanier, Jessica Church
- Michael Barnett, Pam Wohlschlegel
- Carol Hurst, Chris Noel
- Tom and Cheryl Mullings
- Linda Stoch, Marie Davis
- David Riker, Lynne Baldwin
- Geri Lyons, Evelyn Henry
- Iris Scheibl