This last Saturday, August 23, 2008, was Ashe County's Armed Forces Tribute. Vicky Moody, a good friend and colleague here in Ashe County, along with the Rotary Club, organized the event. Vicky, even with multiple other activities and a full time job, still pulled it off for the third year in a row! There were military personnel in attendance from privates to generals, the Marine Corp Band, a big-screen live teleconference with soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, an airdrop from the 82nd Airborne.....it was quite a day and a day that Ashe County can be proud of.
I donated some of my room nights to help out with accommodating the people who came to speak and be part of the event. It was my way to give something back. On Thursday and Friday my guests were a Colonel and his wife from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And on Saturday night, I had the pleasure to welcome Rebecca Pepin and her husband, Derek, for the evening.
Rebecca is a news anchor for the NBC affiliate in Bristol, Virginia and....the editor of a touching and powerful book called Faces of Freedom. The book has stories about military men and women who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan--one for each state. Each one of those heroes represents all those others, more than 4000, who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I can only read a few pages at a time as I feel for the lives lost and the families and friends who cannot and will never be the same again.
All the proceeds from the book go to the Fisher House Foundation which donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers where families can stay while their loved one is hospitalized for unexpected illness, disease, or injury. Additionally, the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrier Project which provides "tangible comfort and suport to severely injured service members as they transition back to civilian life." You can find out more about it by going to woundedwarriorproject.org. These are both good causes.
I never know what might happen next here at Buffalo Tavern. I feel good that I could give back.