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Veterans Appreciation Celebration planned Saturday

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    Volunteers line up to show their appreciation to veterans at the first-ever drive through event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. FILE PHOTO
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Saturday’s Veterans Appreciation Day begins with the Col. Allen Carr Memorial 5K Race, which in itself is a tribute to a local veteran.

The Jones County Veterans Committee agreed unanimously to name the 5K race in honor of Carr, who died Oct. 1. Carr was the committee’s first chairman and was instrumental in getting the race organized in 2013. He continued to assist with the race even this year, making phone calls to sponsors just weeks before his death.

The 5K begins at 9 a.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m.

Veterans registration for the Nov. 13 Veterans Appreciation Day begins at 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the W.E. Knox Center on the Gordon Street side. The theme of this year’s event is “Honoring All Who Served.”

The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on the stage. The Jones County High School Band Quintet will play before the ceremony begins and will start the program by playing The Star-Spangled Banner.

Veterans Committee members Fleta Harper and Carr will be remembered for their service to the committee and veterans during the program, and a Jones County/Gray joint proclamation will be read commemorating the event.

Other activities taking place during the veterans celebration is the presentation of service hats to all veterans who register and a gift of a wooden military service emblem hand-carved by veteran and committee member Roger Hawke.

The DAR and Gray Garden Club will be handing out goodie bags and the Jones County Pilot Club will have baked goods for sale in their regular location under the covered walkway.

The pickup area for the American Legion pre-sold chicken dinners is located in the corner near the Pilot Club. The legion will also draw for its annual Rifle Raffle at the event.

The Jones County Cruisers will host a car show in the parking area near Carol’s Park, and veterans’ interviews from past programs – in addition to a new video this year documenting how Veterans Appreciation Day began – will be shown in the W.E. Knox Civic Center Auditorium.

The Veterans Committee held its final meeting prior to the Nov. 13 event Oct. 27. At the beginning of that meeting committee secretary Bonnie Duke talked about Carr’s contribution to the 5K race.

Duke said Carr took on the organization of the race in its beginning and was integral in keeping it going until his health made it necessary for others to step in this year.

“We have learned all he did,” she said. “This was his baby.”

Duke said when thinking of ways to honor him, it was decided that naming the 5K race for him was more than appropriate.

After going over the program and the postcard invitations to be mailed to veterans, the rest of the committee meeting was a discussion on the logistics of where all the activities would be located.

The military service hats given to all veterans who register at the Veterans Appreciation Day event has become one of the day’s major attractions, and Duke has taken on that responsibility.

“The hats are here, and we do have plenty,” she said.

In a related event later that afternoon, Hart’s Jones County Chapel will have President Ronald Reagan as its guest speaker by Tim Beasley and Combs has also been asked to speak.

Steve Johnson said music for the program will be provided by B. Keith Williams.

That event will start at 3 p.m., and the public is invited to attend.