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Veterans appreciate salute to their service and sacrifices


Guests thank church for planning the event and hope for a repeat

When veterans get the call, they respond, and that was the case June 30 when Living Faith Lutheran Church hosted a community celebration at the King City Clubhouse to honor vets.

About 125 people showed up for the event that included the presentation of the American flag, the pledge of allegiance and a talk by King City resident Larry Torrey about his experience in the Army military police during the Allied Far East Tribunal in Tokyo.

Each branch of the military was recognized, and Judy Gascon played each branch's fight song on the piano.

Jennifer Fair, president of Mission Mahalo, talked about her non-profit organization that sends boxes of hygiene and comfort items to overseas troops, and veterans in the audience were invited to speak about their military service.

The event concluded with a sing-along that included such favorites as "God Bless America," "Over There," "Tipperary," "Pack up your Troubles," "God Bless the USA" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Finally, everyone enjoyed at barbecue hosted by church members.

Church pastor Dee Bulante said following the program that although the church is small, the congregation decided to host two community events every year.

"The last two years we have done a Christmas outreach program, and after brainstorming, we decided to do a mid-year event around the Fourth of July," Bulante said. "King City is obviously a community with a lot of veterans, and it's nice to recognize them. Our long-term goal is to make it an annual event.

"We got such good attendance - we were thinking maybe 70 or 80 would come - and the feedback has been good. Maybe we will add a medal ceremony next year but otherwise make it similar to this. We also hope to get more volunteers from King City involved. Some said they couldn't help us physically but could help us financially."

As Bulante was talking, King City resident Norma Spencer came up to him and said, "This was outstanding. If it grows, you'll have to hold it out on the golf course."

The congregation meets at GENTOG, 11535 S.W. Durham Road, in the Willowbrook Center at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

For more information, call Bulante at 360-545-3334.