AVON PARK — The NAACP Highlands County Branch of Veterans Affairs held a mouthwatering breakfast for veterans on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Avon Park Noon Rotary Club. Over 40 people attended the breakfast that honored veterans and informed them of benefits available to them.
The Sebring Junior ROTC carried the flags and began the event in a patriotic fashion. After the blessing of food, veterans lined up to enjoy the delicious sausage and egg casserole, grits, fresh fruit, biscuits, donuts and pastries. Orange juice and hot coffee provided the perfect complement to the morning feast.
Veterans sat at tables decorated with red and white tablecloths and American flags. Brenda Gray, an Army veteran with 22 years of service, greeted the attendees and welcomed them to the event.
Gray asked the people in the audience to raise their hands if they belonged to the Navy. Then she repeated the request for each branch of the service. A smattering of hands rose for each branch of service until she called for people to raise their hands if they served with the Army. Hands popped up all over the room. After looking at the number of raised hands, Gray announced with a cheer, “Army wins again!”
Some veterans who attended the breakfast had served just two years while others had made a career of the military.
Al Nolton, chairman, said, “We get all branches of service together to fellowship. Our mission is to work with veterans who are not able to get around to take care of them. This program gets them together and makes them aware of the benefits available for them.
“This is the fourth year that the committee — made up of Brenda Gray, Lester Roberts, Errol Taver — has put this breakfast together,” Nolton said. “Every year it gets better.” Nolton leads the committee for the breakfast among other duties, such as seeking to provide opportunities and resources for veterans.
Nolton said the group is trying to get veterans involved to participate in the Freedom Flight, a trip to Washington, D.C. to see monuments, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, World War II memorial and Korean memorial.
The breakfast was a time to honor veterans, showing them appreciation and helping them to feel connected to each other. The meeting also featured speakers who informed veterans of much-needed resources.