Event includes dinner, music, raffles, and laughs
by Melanie Jongsma
LYNWOOD, Ill. (May 9, 2019) – Bright pink shirts welcomed guests, checked the list of names, and handed out raffle tickets as Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard veterans entered the front hallway of Dream Palace in Lynwood. The bright pink shirts designated members of the Lansing Junior Woman’s Club, and they were hosting nearly 300 veterans and guests at their 10th annual US Military Veteran Appreciation Dinner.
The Dream Palace is the third venue for the annual event, after attendance outgrew the American Legion and then the Knights of Columbus. The dinner is free for veterans and only $5.00 for guests. The Lansing Junior Woman’s Club holds a fundraising dinner each year to help cover the costs, and donations from a variety of organizations and local businesses provide a generous meal as well as a bounty of raffle prizes.
This year’s dinner opened with the presentation of colors by the Lansing Veteran’s Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard, followed by the national anthem sung by Danielle Sault, a student at Visible Music College:
After a prayer by emcee Michael Bolz, LJWC President Jocelyn Farris took the podium to welcome guests and express appreciation for their service. Dinner then commenced with warm rolls, salad, a choice of entrees, and dessert. Entertainer Lenny Lito accompanied the meal with accordion music.
As dinner ended, Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich addressed the crowd and encouraged them to sign up for Honor Flight, particularly since Honor Flight is now accepting veterans from the war in Vietnam. Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization that offers aging veterans a day of honor in Washington DC, bringing them to the memorials built in tribute to them. The flight and full-day itinerary are provided at no cost to the veteran, and priority is given to the most senior veterans first. The program began with veterans of World War II, and Honor Flight Chicago began including veterans of the Korean War in 2016. Beginning this year they have expanded the day of honor to Vietnam-era veterans.
Mayor Patty Eidam, herself a US Army veteran, also offered some words of thanks to the attendees.
To learn more about the Lansing Junior Woman’s Club and the work they do in the Lansing community, visit their Facebook page: