Tri-Town plans Veterans Day Gala

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 10:55 p.m.

A Veterans Day Gala benefiting a local effort to honor soldiers who fought in the Vietnam and Korean wars is planned for Sunday at the Vanderbilt Fire Hall on Leisenring Road.

The event will feature a smorgasbord and an afternoon of live music. It is being sponsored by the Tri-Town Area Historical Society to benefit the Mile Of Pennies campaign, which is raising money for a new honor roll in the center of Dawson.

“So far, we have been very successful. We are past three-quarters of a mile of pennies,” said Roy Hess, chairman of the society's Honor Roll Committee.

The new honor roll will be designed similarly to the World War I and World War II ones. It will be adorned with the names of the Vietnam and Korean War veterans of Dawson and Lower Tyrone Township.

“We've ordered the marble, so it is being cut as we speak,” Hess said. “We need to have all of the names by December. Getting the names has really been the toughest battle. People have moved, and families have died out, and there really isn't any place where you can get that information.”

Anyone who knows of someone who lived in Dawson or Lower Tyrone Township when they entered the military is asked to call Hess at 724-529-7298.

He said it is free to get a name listed, but once the plate is cast, the group does not know if it will have the money to add any names at $300 per name.

The group hopes to erect the new monument in June, which is why it is accelerating fundraising efforts with the Veterans Day Gala.

The event will begin with a smorgasbord buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Society President Patty Lint said all of the food is being provided by the members of the organization as well as several area churches. The cost of the dinners are $8.50 per person for adults and $4 per person for children.

The entertainment will start at 2 p.m. Four of the area's top bands have donated their time to the event. First up will be the bluegrass band Mt. Laurel, followed by the country/Southern rock band The High Ryder. Gene McFadden and the Del Sols will entertain the crowd with classic rock, followed by Abilene.

“Abilene was one of the most successful local bands in the late '80s,” Hess said. “This is a great band, and they have national experience. They are a very high-class band, and they are just superb.”

Abilene, which has not played together since the late 1980s or early '90s, has chosen this event to begin its comeback.

“We just thought it was a wonderful cause. Anything to help out something for the veterans, and we're regrouping, so we thought it would be a good opportunity for us to get back out there,” said Keith Taylor, founder of Abilene.

Each band will play about an hourlong set.

“It will be continuous entertainment all afternoon,” Hess said.

Those who would like to come out just for the afternoon activities will be asked to make a donation to the honor roll at the door.

In addition to the bands, there will be at least 10 door prizes given away. A chinese auction will include several baskets — some with autumn and Christmas themes. Hot dogs and nonalcoholic beverages will be available for purchase in the afternoon.

“There will be something going on all day,” Hess said. “I just hope people understand the magnitude of what we are trying to do here and come out.”

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.

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