We Appreciate Our Military!

For the fourth consecutive year, over 60 area businesses and organizations are participating in Military Appreciation Days, a 10-day long event to honor active military personnel and veterans and remember those who have given their lives for their country.

Military Appreciation Days takes place from Nov. 3-12. Following are some of the scheduled activities to take place:

Major Umbarger Speaking Engagement

Then, on Nov. 7, Major General R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General of Indiana National Guard, will speak at the National Guard Armory, 315 E. Markland Ave., at 6:30 p.m. As Adjutant General, General Umbarger’s primary focus is to lead the Indiana Army and Air National Guard and state employees, a total of nearly 16,000 personnel. “This is one thing you don’t want to miss,” Laudani said. “He is over the whole state of Indiana when it comes to the military, and he doesn’t just go anywhere. For him to be coming to Kokomo is absolutely amazing. After his presentation, the Armory will have games and activities on site for families. In addition, several churches are coming together to provide a free chicken and noodle dinner for the first 150 attendees. “This is not a fund-raising event. No money will be exchanging hands on that one. It’ll just be a good time,” she said.

Howard County 2012 Stand Down for Homeless

Next, on Nov. 9, the Howard County 2012 “Stand Down” for Homeless and Veterans in Need will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the VFW Post 1152, 920 N. Washington St. In the military, a stand down was a time away from the battlefield where soldiers could rest from combat. Today, a stand down refers to a community-based intervention to help homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets—even if it’s just one day of support and compassion. “This is for homeless veterans who are in need of any kind of emergency assistance, any kind of drug and alcohol help, any kind of job assistance, and any kind of thing like,” said Laudani.
The goal of the event is to raise awareness about the needs of veterans in the community and show support to them and their families.

Military Memorial Ride

Then, a new participant to Military Appreciation Days is Agape Garden Ministries with a full day of events on Nov. 10. Ed Bragg of Agape said the school looked into getting involved after some of the students starting talking about wanting to help those in the military. “A lot of it was because of our children. They wanted to help the military, and they also wanted to help the kids because some of them were hearing about kids who were going without because either mom or dad was deployed,” he said. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. with “A Ride to Remember.” The ride is open to all motorcycles, antique cars, and all other vehicles. Cost is $10 per vehicle, and funds raised will be split between Help Military Kids Smile Project and the Wounded Warriors Housing Project. The ride begins at Harley Davidson on U.S. 31 and will take vehicles past the military memorials in Kokomo and to the future site of the new veterans’ home. “A lot of people don’t even know where all the memorials are. We’re just wanting people to be aware, and it’s an educational opportunity for a lot of people because they’ll get to see where all the memorials throughout Kokomo are,” he said. Weather permitting, two WWII planes from the Kokomo Airport will fly above the ride. The ride will end at Agape Garden Ministries, 804 S. Purdum St., where there will be a POW/MIA memorial dedication at 11:30 a.m. Currently, there are 51 POWs from Indiana whose names will be listed. The memorial also will have a plaque attached to it with the words “still looking for a few good men and women.” “There isn’t enough we can do to honor these guys who give a lot and then give even more,” he said. After the dedication, from 12 to 3 p.m., there will be family-friendly activities. “We just want to help these guys when they get back and honor the ones who don’t make it back,” he said. “After all, you’re only gone when you’re forgotten.”

Military Appreciation Days Fund Raiser

Also on Nov. 10, the IBN Saud Grotto will host a Military Appreciation Days fund raiser from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to benefit the Military Foundation. All military personnel receive a free dinner. All Military Appreciation Days activities conclude on Nov. 12 with the DAV and Golden Corral Annual Military Monday at Golden Corral. There will be free meals for all veterans and active military. The DAV will be conducting fund raisers on site Nov. 10-12.

Several other events and activities are planned for Military Appreciation Days. To learn more, Go to www.MilitaryFoundation.org for additional information about the 2012 Military Appreciation Days participant offerings, a locator map to find each participant, and an update on Military Appreciation Days calendar of events, or contact Gary Loveless, coordinator of 2012 Military Appreciation Days and secretary of the Military Foundation, at 614-2886.

The three honorary chairmen of the 2012 Military Appreciation Days are Mayor Greg Goodnight, Howard County Commissioner Tyler Moore, and former Captain USMC John Walker. The general chairman of 2012 Military Appreciation Days is Rick Riddle.

DISCLAIMER: Neither Indiana VA Mortgages (IndianaVAmortgages.com) nor LeaderOne Financial Corporation is affiliated with any government agencies, including the VA.