MARSHALL - There are a lot of issues facing military men and women and their loved ones today - more than we usually see addressed in the media, Jeff Gay said. To do a better job of helping area veterans, he said, it takes teamwork. That's the idea behind an upcoming event for both veterans and civilians in Marshall.
The For All Who Have Served event will be held July 21 at the Lyon County Fairgrounds in Marshall. The daylong event will feature a variety of vendors, a job expo for veterans, and seminar events open to the public.
There will be children's activities and child care available, Gay said, and to top everything off, an evening concert featuring The Walking Phoenixes, a Johnny Cash tribute band from Los Angeles, Calif. The concert will be open to the public and free for all veterans, Gay said.
Gay, who works with the Family Assistance Centers and is the commander of the American Legion post in Marshall, said the idea for the event came partly from comments he would often hear from older veterans. In recent years, a lot of the focus has been on National Guard members coming home from Iraq, but there are more veterans who also need our support.
"It made me want to do something for everybody," Gay said. So this event, he said, "It's for everybody, not just the recently returned vets."
"We've had a lot of really fantastic help," Gay said of organizing the event. Many local partners are helping to make the day possible, including local veterans organizations, the Military Family Assistance Center, and area businesses.
(All events take place at the
Lyon County Fairgrounds)
10 a.m. - Event registration begins
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. - Children's activities, including Operation Military Kids, pony rides, climbing wall and more
11 a.m. - Vet Benefits Expo begins
Open seminars held on the hour
1 p.m. - Military retiree briefing
4 p.m. - Wounded Warrior Project seminar, open to the public
5 p.m. - Business After Hours event
7 p.m. - Grandstand entertainment featuring "Screaming Cactus" and "The Walking Phoenixes." Concert is $10 per person, veterans admitted free
"The way the city (of Marshall) stepped up was awesome," Gay said. The Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce's Military Appreciation Week is coordinating with the veterans' event on the 21st, and the Chamber will also hold a "Business After Hours" event at the fairgrounds.
Even the concert's musical guests came forward for a chance to do something for the veterans, Gay said. They were part of the production crew on a documentary about veterans, which filmed in southwest Minnesota last year.
"They wanted to give something back," Gay said.
Many of the seminars and vendors planned for the event are geared toward veterans and families. Starting in the morning, the job expo will bring together resources for veterans and human resources representatives from many different companies within 150 miles of Marshall. Veterans can get advice for job interviews, resume writing and developing a business website, and even learn some valuable information about going into business for themselves.
"The Better Business Bureau will be there, and there will be information on how to get government contracts for your small business," Gay said.
There will also be a variety of seminars, on topics ranging from recognizing the symptoms of depression to applying for VA home loans. Gay said a seminar just for retired veterans will include information on insurance, health care and other benefits, and health care booths will also be part of the event.
Gay emphasized the event is not just open to all veterans, but open to the public as well. A seminar hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project, which offers support for servicepeople injured in the line of duty, will be held in the afternoon. Some of the fun activities throughout the day will appeal to all ages too, Gay said. There will be a rock-climbing wall, and a display of classic cars by the Shades of the Past Car Club.
Additional information on the event and concert can be found online at www.allwhohaveserved.org