The Band of Brothers is hosting a spaghetti feed to raise money to fund flights to the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., for local veterans

Photo Credit: KEVIN SPERL - The Band of Brothers, shown in the above photo during the local Fourth of July parade, will host a spaghetti feed fundraiser on Saturday.

Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, Navy Diver Jack Marsicano was in the water, knocking on ship hulls checking for survivors.

This past June, at the age of 96, as a guest of the Bend Heroes Foundation, Marsicano was able to travel to Washington, D.C., to view the WWII War Memorial.

Due to the efforts of Prineville’s Band of Brothers, his wife, Margaret was able to go with him.

According to Bob Ervin, board member of the Band of Brothers, the Marsicanos were part of June’s Honor Flight that has so far taken 19 Crook County veterans to view the memorials.

“Southwest and Alaska Airlines donate 25 seats on their planes for Honor Flight veterans,” he explained. “The Bend Heroes Foundation handles the whole trip, paying all travel costs for the veteran. We raised the $1,400 to be able to send Margaret with him, as caregivers must pay their own way.”

To pay her expenses, the Band of Brothers held a spaghetti feed in March, hoping to raise the money — they raised over $3,000.

“Jake could not have gone without a caregiver,” said Ervin. “She was the logical one to go. We couldn’t really pick anyone else,” he added with a laugh.

The local organization is at it again, having scheduled another spaghetti feed for Saturday, Aug. 16, hoping to serve at least 125 people.

Ervin said it is the third annual feed and its goal is to replenish the Brother’s treasury for future donations.

All funds raised are used to assist local veterans who may be in need. The group offers several forms of assistance, including an annual firewood cutting, paying utility bills, and purchasing special medical equipment. 

The group also sponsors an Honor Guard, which is available for graveside honors, celebrations of life, church presentations and other military honors. All services are provided at no charge to the survivors of fallen veterans.

Ervin noted that the fundraiser would not be possible without the generosity of the Elks Club and Ericksons Thriftway.

“We need to give the Elks Club a big hand,” said Ervin. “We have 467 members and there is no other place big enough to hold us. Without them we wouldn’t survive.”

Ervin said that over 100 members gather at the club each Thursday for breakfast and a meeting.

“We are all veterans, men and women, wives and husbands, that come down and eat breakfast and shoot the breeze,” said Ervin.

Ervin also thanked Ericksons for providing the group a discount for purchasing the food for Saturday’s fundraiser.

For the Marsicano’s, the trip to Washington was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It was my first time ever on a plane,” said Margaret. “The people were very courteous to us and we saw a lot of things.”

While there, the couple visited the WWII, Korean and Vietnam War memorials, met with U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, and toured the capital building and the Lincoln Memorial

“The Lincoln Memorial was something,” said Margaret. “I didn’t think they could build anyone that big!”

To start their four-day trip, the couple was driven to Portland by a member of the Band of Brothers in a van donated by Crook County. In Portland, they spent the night at the Shilo Inn, before flying out the next day. Upon their return, they were picked up and driven home, again courtesy of the Band of Brothers and Crook County.

Ervin said that veterans that take part in Honor Flight programs really appreciate the fact that the United States builds memorials.

“I’ve been to the WWII Memorial and it is just fantastic,” said Ervin, a pharmacists/third class who served in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. “When I walked through, I made it about halfway until a lump came up in my throat.”

On behalf of her husband, Margaret just wanted everyone to know how much they appreciated being given the opportunity to see this country’s tributes to veterans.

“We have never had anyone help us out like this,” she added.

Ervin is actively soliciting items for the silent auction, and will accept any serviceable items including equipment, fishing gear and tools.

“Even people that can take people on trips down the river, or provide a ton of hay, we will take it on,” he said.

And, Margaret certainly recommends attending the spaghetti dinner.

“The spaghetti feed is fantastic,” she said. “People will not go away hungry.”

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