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Business to honor area veterans on Saturday

Though George and Cindi Vroenen are old enough to retire, they’re afraid it would become too boring.

The couple own G.I. USA in the Albertson’s Plaza, specializing in customized American military memorabilia.

The Vroenen’s have scheduled a Veterans Day observance at their business on Saturday from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.

All are invited.

“We will be providing free food for veterans which will be hamburgers, hot dogs and even some sandwiches from Port of Subs,” Cindi Vroenen said. “There will be all kinds of items for veterans from all wars and conflicts, and we’ll give those away free to veterans randomly. It’s something special for our veterans.”

The burgers and hot dogs will be prepared by Lt. Colonel Patrick Nary from Pahrump Valley High School’s JROTC program.

“The Kiwanis Club will be here and also the Elks Club for their membership drive and the VFW comes out and they provide paperwork in regards to their membership,” she said. “There will also be raffle tickets on sale for a commemorative Vietnam rifle.”

Vroenen said due to the official Veterans Day observance falling on Wednesday this year, she opted for Saturday morning.

She noted the observance is one of several scheduled throughout the year, which draws larger-than-expected crowds.

On the Fourth of July this year, Vroenen said roughly 1,200 people showed up. More than 300 were on hand for the 9/11 observance.

She’s anticipating about 1,500 for tomorrow’s observance.

“We can’t seem to draw a crowd on Wednesday,” she said. “We had a Fourth of July celebration, which drew quite a turnout. It was amazing because people were calling a couple of weeks after the celebration to thank us. We really enjoy doing this because it’s not a chore for us.”

Additional local organizations attending the event include officials from the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 15, members from Pahrump Valley High School’s JROTC, and Key Club as well as the Salvation Army.

Vroenen said free raffles will be held every half hour throughout the ceremony.

“You do have to be present to win and all of the prizes are USA made,” she said. “We’ll have USA license plates, Paracord bracelets and decals. The Paracords are the rescue bracelets and they are quite popular. We have them in red, white and blue.”

Vroenen also spoke of the challenges many war veterans must face once they return home from duty.

She said when veterans come together for such an event, it seems to bring forth a certain camaraderie among the individuals.

“Sometimes it’s hard for veterans because it brings back old memories that are unhappy, but when they are there with their brothers, they always seem to turn around and make it more of a remembrance,” she said. “I have a video of two local veterans singing a Vietnam-era song that was slightly morbid but they were happy when they were singing it. It made them laugh even though we know how detrimental it was to their emotional well-being, way back then.”

As a Daughter of the American Revolution, Vroenen said her family is continuing the tradition of serving in the military.

“I have veterans all the way back to the 1700’s,” she said. “Between my husband and me, we have four children. Three are in the Navy, one is in the Air Force. My son is currently serving and he’s been in for the past 16 years now. I just want to say that it’s our honor to serve our veteran community. I think we all owe them a great debt of gratitude and this is a small part from us that represents that.”

G.I. USA is located at 150 S. Highway 160 in the Albertson’s Plaza.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. No Twitter: @sharrispvt.

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