Rector Veterans Celebration Saturday

Thursday, March 28, 2019
Members of the Rector VFW hoisted new flags on all of the poles at Rector Veteran's Memorial Park on Monday, in preparation for Saturday's special observance. Pictured raising the American Flag are, from left: Larry Pruett, Tommy Huggins, Tom Diddle, John Bradshaw and Dennis Presson.
TD photo/Tim Blair

Local organizers report the plans are complete, as Rector is set to once-again observe National Vietnam Veterans Day. This year the national observance will be held Friday, March 29. As part of the observance, on Saturday, March 30, the city of Rector is inviting veterans of all wars to come and celebrate with the city and its citizens. For 2019, the event has been planned to honor veterans who earned the Purple Heart Medal.

In preparation for the event, members of the local VFW met at Veterans Memorial Park Monday afternoon to replace the flags. The VFW is also scheduled to host a special assembly at Rector High School on Friday, with Commander John Bradshaw scheduled to moderate a discussion and question and answer period for the students.

The local observance will kick-off with a parade down Main Street at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and organizers hope to again have a large crowd to cheer along the route. “Like last year, it's hoped we can once-again honor the Vietnam veterans with signs and posters to give them the welcome home they were denied so many years ago,” spokesperson Christa Hedrick offered.

“All veterans of all wars are invited to march or ride in the parade,” she added. “We will then have a short program at the Rector Veterans Memorial Park to acknowledge our appreciation for the men and women who have worn the uniform of one of our military branches.”

Special guest speaker for the program will be Everett Evans, commander of the Northeast Arkansas Chapter #709, Military Order of Purple Heart. Also on the schedule is Chrissy Jennings-Pazanowski, who will entertain those in attendance with a selection of patriotic songs. Following the program, the First United Methodist Church will provide a fried fish dinner which will be free to Vietnam Vets with the cooking handled by John 3:16 Ministries.

“The celebration last year was very well received, and we want to make this an annual event,” Hedrick added. “Those who wish to be in the parade should meet at the corner of 3rd and Main at 1:30 p.m. Transportation will be provided for those who need it.”

In conjunction with this event, the John J. Pershing, V.A. Medical Center will host a town hall style meeting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Rector Community Center. Organizers note there will be VA staff on site to assist veterans with filing claims and checking the status of existing claims.

“We'll have federal adjudicators and VA medical staff on hand to help answer questions and provide any help they can,” noted Tommy Huggins, Clay County Veterans Service Representative. Those wanting additional information on veterans services may contact Huggins at (870) 595-4113.

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