If someone is not involved with active duty military personnel, or if they don’t know a military veteran, one place individuals can observe those who have served is by going to a parade.
Years ago a popular song was “I Love a Parade,” and the lyrics extolled the benefits of viewing all those who marched down the street to patriotic music. And then there is the twist on an old-time gag, “Not everybody can be a military hero. There must be civilians to stand on the sidelines and applaud.”
Seriously, folks, there are several places in Southern Nevada where one can spend a stressless day and interact with men and women who once served, or who may still be serving. There are specific events that are upcoming (get out your calendars), and there are permanent locations that can be visited.
We can begin with the Fisher House in North Las Vegas. The facility, on the grounds of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic, is operated by Cadie Franco and three other full-time employees, along with volunteers. Anyone who would care to volunteer can call Franco at 702-224-6789.
Volunteers receive training at the VA clinic, and provide a variety of services. Franco said they might be asked to give tours, or sometimes bake treats for residents in the modern kitchen, or perform other tasks. Monetary donations are also appreciated.
To get a first-hand look at the facility, the community is invited to an annual Open House each September. This year it’s on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees will enjoy a free BBQ and entertainment.
Today the Fisher Foundation is operated by members of Zachary and Elizabeth’s family, the founders, who carry on the couple’s patriotic tradition. To quote the late patriarch, helping service members and their families is what drives the charitable mission. He said the work and services provided is “Dedicated to our greatest national treasure … our military service men women and their loved ones.”
Although Nellis Air Force Base abuts North Las Vegas, it’s officially part of Clark County. Yet North Las Vegas itself is host to many veterans’ events. On September 9 at Craig Ranch Regional Park, there will be a Military and Veterans Appreciation Day. Families are invited to attend and take part. For more details, go to www.nlvevents4military.org.
Many Pahrump readers may know about Honor Flight Southern Nevada. At absolutely no cost to participants, this non-profit organization takes senior veterans to Washington, D.C., to attend the sites of the nation’s military monuments and memorials. It’s all done with donations, with no government participation.
On Sept. 30 the group will hold a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Applebee’s Restaurant, 8730 W. Charleston Blvd. in Las Vegas. For a mere $10, anyone can take indulge in pancakes, eggs, sausage and beverage. Honor Flight Southern Nevada will receive $5 for every breakfast sold. For more information, go to www.honorflightsouthernnevada.org. Those who cannot attend can consider providing donations.
There may come a time when veterans and their families are unable to advise others as to what their final requests are. But there is always the opportunity to make such decisions ahead of time. Families friends and health care providers can learn what one may want through Advance Directives.
Decisions about what type of health care one may want or not want can be provided in advance through “Deciding Tomorrow…Today” developed by Nathan Adelson Hospice. For details, there is a free lunch and workshop scheduled for Oct. 3 from noon to 2 p.m. It’s at the Walter L. Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care, at 4131 Swenson Street, Las Vegas. RSVP to Cassie Farris, 702-796-3141, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mention Veterans DTT.
And for readers who have not visited the Veterans Memorial located on the grounds of the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas, I can state that it’s worth the travel time and expense. It’s an amazing presentation. It’s a stationary memorial but it appears as if a parade has stopped for a moment so those on the sidewalk can take in the splendor and majesty of America’s defensive forces through the decades.
Chuck N. Baker is a Purple Heart veteran of the Vietnam War and the host of “That’s America to Me” every Sunday at 7 a.m. on 97.1-FM.