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Thanks to those who made 50th Reunion of Vietnam-era Navy VQ2 Squadron special

Dear Editor,

A great big thanks to Commander Jim Bransom, VFW Post 2399, and AmVets Post 133 Commander Clay Roundtree for all the camaraderie and assistance for my 50th Reunion of Vietnam-era Navy VQ2 Squadron.

The AmVets furnished a typical Texas biscuits and gravy breakfast on Veterans Day and the VFW did a brisket and sausage dinner with a live band that night.

Everyone was very grateful and we sent 20 sailors and their wives home with a special sampling of Texas southern hospitality.

Thanks to Aaron’s for the loan of a big screen TV that allowed us to relive 50 years of memories.

Also special thanks to Victor Calderon and the Knights of Columbus for their help.

Lee B. Downs, Mineral Wells

Another year of community giving through Tommy’s Angel Tree is under way

Dear Editor,

As we begin the Christmas season, the most joyous holiday of the year, we would like to invite you to look around and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Everywhere you look, people are rejoicing ... rejoicing that we live in a community like Mineral Wells where we all work together for the common good.

One of the sad facts, however, is that not all of our children will have gifts under the Christmas tree. We are working to alleviate some of that poverty in our midst. Tommy’s Angel Tree began several years ago by Mineral Wells Volunteer Firefighter and Mineral Wells Police Sgt. Tommy Parker. Tommy would purchase gifts for needy children and delivery them. Tommy was killed 25 years ago, fighting a house fire in Mineral Wells. His memory lives on in the eyes of each child who wakes up on Christmas morning to find gifts under the tree thanks to the generosity of the citizens of Mineral Wells who support Tommy’s Angel Tree.

Angel Tree is a community project. It is not a fire department project. It is with community involvement that makes this program a success. You can find Angels at Brazos Factory Outlet, Wal-Mart, Community National Bank, or Bealls Dept. Store. Shop for that angel and take those gifts to the Mineral Wells Fire Department at 212 S. Oak Ave. Gifts must be turned in by Dec. 12th so that they can be wrapped and delivered Dec. 17th. We invite you to be at the Steve Perdue Training Center (the old Goodyear building) at 300 S. Oak Ave. at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17th, to participate in the joy of delivering the gifts.

The unfortunate fact is that some Angels will not be selected from the trees. You may wish to make a

donation so that the angels who are not selected from the trees will still receive gifts. Monetary donations may be sent to Tommy’s Angel Tree, P.O. Box 832, Mineral Wells, TX 76068.

Mineral Wells is a caring community. We evidence that by the tremendous outpouring of love that occurs each and every time there Is a worthy project.

Angel tree is another of the many worthwhile projects that the citizens of Mineral Wells so graciously support with their time, talents and donations. We know that we can count on you.

For information on the Angel Tree you may contact Connie at 940-325-7105. Please leave a message and your call will be returned.


The Angel Tree Guardians

A veteran with no official proof of service

Dear Editor,

I am a United States Army veteran, having served two years as a military policeman at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and Cam Rahn Bay, South Vietnam, during 1967-69. I try to fly my American flag outside my home every day and occasionally, or on special occasions, wear my U.S. Army/Vietnam veteran ball cap with attached pins for the units I served with.

It is not uncommon these days for someone I chance to meet or another veteran that sees my hat to greet me with a handshake or a “thanks for your service” acknowledgement, something that I did not receive in 1969 after returning home from Vietnam. Although I was unable to attend this year’s Veterans Day event at Ram Stadium, I did attend the Mineral Wells High School football game that evening.

While sitting in the stands, a young boy, probably 9 years old, climbed over three rows of seats behind me and stood beside me. He asked, “Are you a veteran?” He had noticed my ball cap and wanted to shake my hand. He looked me in the eye and I looked in his and I said, “Yes.” His reply was “thanks for your service.” I shook his hand and thanked him as he crawled back to his seat. That was very nice and heartwarming.

The next day, on Veterans Day, my wife and I decided to eat at Mesquite Pit in Mineral Wells for lunch. Having heard they were offering some kind of special meal deal for veterans, I wore my black US Army/Vietnam veterans ball cap. When we entered the building, the lady seating people acknowledged that I was a veteran and handed me the special menu for veterans. We were seated and a waitress came to take our order.

I asked her to explain the veteran special menu and was told to order from that menu and at check out just show my military ID card. “Well, I don’t have a military ID card – they didn’t give me one when I returned from Vietnam in 1969,” I told her.

“Well, just show a VFW or American Legion membership card.” Don’t have those either.

Becoming frustrated, I decided to just forget the advertised veteran’s special meal deal and ordered from the regular menu. A few minutes later one of the managers came to the table to see if there was a problem or misunderstanding concerning the veterans menu. He proceeded to instruct me on how to go to the Department of Public Safety Office with my military discharge papers and obtain a new driver’s license with the special designation for veterans (that is like obtaining a new driver’s license renewal and costs $25.)

At no time did he offer to allow me to order from the special veterans menu laying on the table or to comp my meal after the misunderstanding. Even though the young boy at the football game was able to figure out that I was a veteran just by looking at my hat and accepting my word, the manager at Mesquite Pit didn’t get it and stuck to his requirement that I show proof of military service.

I am not destitute, don’t think I look like a bum off the street trying to wrangle a free meal, nor make a habit of participating in such promotions, but I let my guard down and wound up embarrassed and wishing my wife and I had eaten somewhere else. I certainly will never again patronize Mesquite Pit and in the future eat my barbecue and chicken-fried steaks elsewhere. Having reached the age of 73, I occasionally take advantage of the senior discount offered by some movies, local businesses, and at restaurants if it is offered on the menu. I have never been asked to show proof of age or to show my birth certificate or some other kind of certified legal document verifying my age.

I really regret this incident but will continue to post my American Flag daily as always on the front of my home, stand at attention and cover my heart at the playing of our National Anthem, honor all veterans, and pray for our country.

Jim Dillard, Mineral Wells

U.S. Army/ Vietnam Veteran

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