Community eager to recognize veterans

Truth file photo At a Memorial Day service at Rice Cemetery in May, veterans presented the flag of the United States. On Monday, which is Veterans Day, there will be a celebration at the cemetery at 11 a.m. – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. 

ELKHART — As Veterans Day approaches, residents and officials in Elkhart are working to make sure those who have served the nation get the recognition they deserve.

Mayor Tim Neese will offer remarks at a Veterans Day ceremony at Rice Cemetery hosted by the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 19. The ceremony will take place near the flag pole in the veterans section of the cemetery. This ceremony is from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Monday and will be open to the public.

Also scheduled is the 28th annual Veterans Day Assembly at West Side Middle School, where over 40 Elkhart veterans will be recognized in front of approximately 700 students and guests. 

Others are getting into swing of honoring veterans, too. 

Drive & Shine said freedom isn’t free, but car washes are for U.S. military veterans and active-duty personnel on Monday.

“It may be a small gesture compared to the great sacrifices they have made, but on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, veterans and active service members will be treated to a free Diamond Car Wash,” a release from the company said.

Drive & Shine is participating in the nationwide program Grace For Vets, in which car washes across the country team up to show appreciation for members of the military.

Texas Roadhouse is inviting veterans and active-duty personnel to enjoy free lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at every location in the nation.

TCC, the Verizon retailer, will be hosting veterans appreciation events Saturday through Monday. Veterans can receive assistance in getting service contracts and will have the opportunity to apply for an Honor Flight trip through the Honor Flight Network, which transports veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials dedicated to the service and sacrifices of military members.

South Shore Line is offering free trips to veterans and active-duty personnel now through Monday. Up to three children ages 13 and younger may ride free with each veteran on off-peak weekday and all weekend trains.

Billings Funeral Home is asking the community to help send troops and local veterans a taste of home for the holidays by participating in the Christmas Stockings for Soldiers & Veterans initiative.

Through Dec. 13, people wishing to participate can stop by the funeral home and pick up a free Christmas stocking to take home, decorate and stuff. The funeral home provides a list of recommended items and will then ship or deliver the stocking in time for Christmas.

“Providing our heroes with some good tidings and holiday cheer is a great way for us to show our support and appreciation for the sacrifices they make to keep our country safe and secure,” said Brad Billings, owner of Billings Funeral Home.

This week, Elkhart became the second city in Indiana to be designated a Hidden Heroes City.

Mayor Tim Neese brought a resolution to the City Council on Monday, asking the council to support the designation in support of military and veteran caregivers.

“The name Hidden Heroes comes from the fact that the caregiver doesn’t have a rank, they don’t get paid, we rarely know anything about them, but they have a very significant role,” Neese said.

The designation is not entirely symbolic. Hidden Heroes, which is a part of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, may be able to provide funding to, for example, help military families go out to celebrate a special occasion, the mayor said.

Before this week, Indianapolis was the only city in the state to be named a Hidden Heroes City, according to Neese. Elkhart City Council unanimously approved the resolution.

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