Second annual breakfast to honor local veterans

‘It is a very moving event’

By: Mike Koury | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 31, 2019

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — A celebratory event honoring the veterans of the West Bloomfield area will be held in the days leading up to Veterans Day.

The second annual Heroes Appreciation Breakfast is scheduled for 9-10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at Orchard Mall, 6445 Orchard Lake Road. The event is free to veterans and one guest, and it’s hosted by the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission. The breakfast will be catered by The Jagged Fork, and the event is presented by Magnolia on the Lakes.

Previously, West Bloomfield held a memorial service at the Civic Center, but it was outdoors, and Parks Executive Director Jennifer Tucker said they wanted to move things inside. That led to last year’s breakfast.

“The first year that we did it, we didn’t really know what to expect, but … it is a very moving event,” she said. “Even if you have no connection to the military, it was really, really something.”

West Bloomfield Police Department Chief Michael Patton and Fire Department Deputy Chief Mark Lawry will host the proceedings, which also will feature a presentation by the West Bloomfield police and fire honor guards, an a capella performance by the Spectrum Quartet, and remarks from Master Sgt. Marine Phil Smith, who will be the guest speaker.

Patton, who also participated in the breakfast last year, is happy to be a part of the “remarkable, successful, positive” event once again.

“(Lawry and I) both there to show our respect and to honor our area veterans and the significant contributions they make to not only our community, but obviously, to our nation too,” he said. “As with any community, we’re rich with veterans in the greater West Bloomfield community, and they play a continuing role in our community after they leave our government service, and so we’re always very happy to show our respect and gratitude for their time and commitment.”

The son of a mother and father who were both World War II veterans, Patton said people recently saw the importance of the U.S. military after the operation that led to the killing of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“You think about the bravery and dedication and training and everything they go through to get to that point, and I like to think it’s a point of pride for every freedom-loving American in the United States that they have that kind of reverence and respect for the members of their military and armed forces,” he said.

Veterans Day is close to Tucker’s heart as well, as her grandmother was a “Rosie the Riveter,” among the women who worked in factories during World War II.

Tucker specified one moment last year during the breakfast that stands out to her.

“All the folks that came that were in every different branch of the military … they would stand up when they called the different branches,” she said. “There was so much emotion in the room of everything that they’ve given for our freedom.”

Non-veterans also are welcome to attend the event. Tickets cost $15 per person. Veterans, their guests and the general public can register for the event at www.wbparks.org/veterans.

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