WAUSEON - As a tribute to families in the area that have relatives serving in the Armed Forces, a special day of appreciation has been scheduled, featuring patriotic music, flag ceremonies, a luncheon, and activities for youngsters.
Invitations for the May 15 event have been sent to area families, said Liana Baldwin, executive director of the Fulton County Chapter of the American Red Cross. The county chapters of the Red Cross in Fulton and Henry counties and Wauseon VFW Post 7424 are hosts for the military family appreciation day. The Fulton County chapter sent 126 letters to military families.
Henry County mailed 122 letters, said Terry Engel; she and her husband, John, are co-chairmen of disaster services for the Henry County Chapter.
Mrs. Engel, who also is chairman of the Armed Forces emergency services for the chapter, came up with the idea for the military family appreciation day two years ago. "This year we wanted to expand and invite some surrounding counties, and Fulton County agreed. We wanted more people there."
Tom Sullivan, a member of the board of directors for the Fulton County Chapter, commended the two chapters and the Wauseon VFW post for working together to honor military families. "This is a good community effort," he said. "I think it is a terrific idea that we are going to do this."
Because not all servicemen fill out contact cards, there likely are military families in the area that did not receive notice about the event, but as long as a family has someone serving in the military, "they can come. This is for the whole family. Everything is free, and there is no charge for anything," Mrs. Baldwin said.
The appreciation day will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the VFW Hall at 1133 North Ottokee St. in Wauseon. Activities include a flag-raising ceremony and a flag-folding ceremony (the meaning of each fold will be explained). There will be take-home crafts for the children and door prizes, including a handmade quilt with a patriotic theme.
Special entertainment will be by performer Britt Small, who sings patriotic songs. He has performed at the dedication of war memorials in Washington, and he entertains at veterans' homes and care facilities. In 1999 he was recognized by Congress for his patriotism and devotion to veterans, according to Mrs. Baldwin.
Families are being asked to take a photo of their servicemen for a display. Photos will be returned at the end of the day. Plans call for the event to be videotaped and put on CDs for the families. Digital pictures will be taken in a specially decorated area so that each family can have a photo to send to their service member.
To register to attend, contact the Fulton County chapter at 419-335-4636 or the Henry County chapter at 419-592-4806 by May 6 so that the organizers can get a head count for food. Families are welcome even if they do not register, Mrs. Engel said.
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