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Veterans Committee looks at post-pandemic options

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    Jones County’s 2020 Veterans Appreciation Day took place Nov. 14, 2020 utilizing pandemic protocols, some of which may be used in future celebrations. FILE PHOTO

Jones County’s Veterans Committee met for the first time since last year’s Veterans Appreciation Day celebration that had to be reconfigured in order to take place during the pandemic.

Veterans Committee Chairman Ret. Col. Richard Combs called the May 27 meeting to order. He said a small group of committee members talked a few weeks ago about last year’s event compared to previous years.

“The weather was beautiful last year. It was a breath of fresh air. We may want to do something like that again,” he said.

Combs suggested looking at the good elements of both. He asked members their favorite parts of the way the celebration was done last year. The ride through registration and the option to just ride through the displays or get out and walk were two parts mentioned.

Committee member Bonnie Duke said having it outdoors allowed more room for the displays, and the way Jones

County High School JROTC cadets took over the handing out of service hats for the veterans worked well.

“It was a pleasant surprise how smoothly the drive-thru worked,” she said.

The chairman agreed that the JROTC cadets really helped.

Committee member Bob Morgan said the American Legion had its best year yet for food sales last year.

Combs said having it outdoors gave it a festive atmosphere, and the auditorium could be a back up plan if needed due to weather.

The chairman asked if there would be a Veterans 5K this year, and Duke said yes. She said committee member Joy Carr had been in touch with Buddy Davis, and he agreed to help again.

“The veterans’ website is no longer active, but we do have a Facebook page,” Duke said.

Combs said the date for the 2021 Veterans Appreciation Day would be Nov. 13.

Committee member Amy Marlowe asked if the committee would like the JCHS band or ensemble at the event. The unanimous response was yes. Marlowe said she would check on the availability of the band and chorus.

Combs asked about veterans’ interviews. It was discussed that the interviews could be videoed and placed on social media with the help of the JCHS Audio/Visual class.

Committee members agreed the video of last year’s event by the class was outstanding.

Duke said the Jones County Veterans Memorial at the courthouse had been completely cleaned, regrouted and sealed by Ricky Jones.

“He did a great job,” she said. “The Veterans Committee made a commitment to keep up the memorial.”

Duke said she would like to get someone to work on getting the paver information digitized. She said 541 pavers were originally sold, and she has information on all but 96. The information on those pavers is missing.

Committee member Ret. Col. Allen Carr said he would look through the box of information he received when one of the rooms was cleaned out at the chamber office.

It was agreed that a special presentation would take place at the Nov. 13 event to honor the late Fleta Harper, who was a charter member of the committee.

Combs gave committee members the homework assignment of coming up with a theme for this year’s celebration.