Attendees are pictured at a previous Veterans Day appreciation event at the Orchard Mall.

Attendees are pictured at a previous Veterans Day appreciation event at the Orchard Mall.

Photo provided by Meagan A. Kurnat

West Bloomfield Parks set to host lunch giveaway for veterans

‘We all put our heads together and said, ‘There’s no way we can cancel it’”

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 23, 2020


WEST BLOOMFIELD — For the past two years, the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission has helped host an appreciation event for veterans.

Despite COVID-19, the intention is to carry on with that display of appreciation this year.

After being held inside the Orchard Mall the last couple years, this year’s event has changed settings.

On Nov. 6, the parks commission will be offering a free curbside lunch for veterans residing in the greater West Bloomfield area.

“There’s two parts to it,” said Kelly Hyer, who is the recreation superintendent for the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission. “If you are a veteran, you’re allowed to sign up yourself and one free guest, and you show up on Nov. 6. … It’ll be a boxed style, so you can take it to go. But if you live in West Bloomfield and need it delivered, we will also deliver it to you.”

Those interested in registering can do so at or by calling (248) 451-1900.

The lunches can be picked up outside the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Activities Center, located at 4640 Walnut Lake Road, between 11 a.m. and noon, with those distributing them wearing masks.

The food can be delivered through a rolled-down window or by being placed in the back seat or trunk of a vehicle.

“The menu is not a hundred percent solidified, but we do know that we’re getting it catered through Jagged Fork, a restaurant in Orchard Mall,” Hyer said.

Despite wanting to keep some of the particulars a “surprise,” Hyer did share some details.

“We are trying to set the scene,” she said. “There will be music. Civic Center TV will be broadcasting live for the megacast that day, as well. It’ll be a patriotic feel.”

Civic Center TV’s broadcast is scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon and can be viewed on Comcast Channel 15 and AT&T Channel 99.

The day’s events can also be viewed live online at

Civic Center TV has covered the event each of the last two years.

Dave Albery is the executive director of the greater West Bloomfield Cable Communications Commission.

“This is a unique and innovative event,” Albery said. “Being more intimately involved, on-site while it’s happening, talking to and interviewing veterans and parks and recreation staff, who is on-site that day from 10 to noon is (going to) be even more special. It’s a very special event in our community.”

What is perhaps the main component of Veterans Day events can still be evident this year.

“Hopefully, our gratitude will be able to be on display that day, so to speak, just in a different way,” Hyer said. “In a normal time, you can gather and truly make it a ceremony where everyone’s in one room, and you can feel the appreciation through the words of gratitude that are spoken and/or sung about, but this is a little harder because you’re in your car, so we tried to think out of the box.”

Meagan A. Kurnat is the marketing manager for the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I think this has become one of our most favorite events throughout the year,” Kurnat said. “It’s a community collaboration, and it’s a great way to show our appreciation for veterans. Although we have canceled a lot this year, this is one event where we all put our heads together and said, ‘There’s no way we can cancel it; we just have to come up with a different way to still be able to do it.’”

Despite not being a veteran, events like this allow Hyer to serve in other ways.

“I did not serve our country in that way, so for me to be able to give back, that is so important to me, and (I’m) very appreciative that I’m given the opportunity to serve our veterans in this way because I can thank them and show my personal gratitude,” she said. “But I think it’s also important that we’re giving the community a platform to give them their thanks.”