Two local organizations have made plans to ensure Marshall County's veterans are properly honored Monday for Veterans Day. The day begins with a parade, followed by the traditional ceremony at Mike Miller Park and a free, nice meal for veterans and their families.
The second annual Veterans Day Parade in Marshall County will line up on Vine Street in Draffenville at 9:30 a.m. and file onto Hwy. 68 at 10 a.m., heading toward Mike Miller Park and ending at the Jerry G. English Veterans Plaza.
The traditional Veterans Day Ceremony at the veterans plaza begins at 11 a.m. featuring Heather French Henry, who's on today's General Election ballot for Kentucky Secretary of State. Garry Smethers with the Marshall County Veterans Support Group, an organizer of the event, said Henry was selected because "she is a very, very strong veterans advocate." He noted she is also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary whose father is a disabled Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War. She has also served as commissioner and deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.
Smethers said the Patriot Guard will also attend the ceremony to stand the flag line, American Legion Post 236 will post the colors and VFW Post 1084 Auxiliary President Misty Lane will sing the National Anthem.
Veterans and their families will be treated to a meal at the VFW Post 1084 located at 4166 Eggners Ferry Road in Benton beginning at 6 p.m., compliments of the VFW Post 1084 Auxiliary. The meal includes smoked Boston butts and smoked turkey breasts with traditional sides.
VFW Post 1084 Quarter Master Robin Walls said in addition to a meal, those in attendance will be part of a presentation awarding $2,500 for a disabled veteran to purchase a service dog, a $1,000 presentation to the Marshall County Veterans Support Group toward their veteran transport van and the presentation of four Voice of Democracy and Patriots pens.
"This is the first time doing this event; we wanted to do something special for Veterans Day and we thought this would be the perfect time for the donations as well," she said. "The money for the service dog is in memory of one of our members who died two years ago and his parents will be there for the presentation of this check because this was his favorite charity, so it's going to be very special."
Smethers said anyone who wishes to participate in the parade may still fill out the sign-up sheet available in the judge-executive's office at the Marshall County Courthouse, located at 1101 Main Street in Benton's court square.
The Marshall County Veterans Support Group consists of members of every veterans organization in Marshall County, Smethers said, and operates a van which takes veterans to and from medical appointments in Marion, Illinois, Paducah and Mayfield. He said thanks to the new MISSON Act, they're now able to transport veterans to any civilian doctor as long as the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) approves. That organization is in the process of raising $70,000 for a new, handicap-accessible vehicle as the one they're using is "on its last leg."
Anyone interested in volunteering to help, willing to make a donation or veterans who need assistance through the program may call Smethers at 270-210-0754.