The Fayetteville First Baptist Church held its first Veterans Day Program with nearly 500 attending and nearly 100 church members participating in the program.
The Rev. Glenn Stringham emceed the “Salute To Veterans” event, himself a service veteran of 22 years. He is also the minister to senior adults at the church.
Music was presented by the Southenaires Big Band, who contributed its time for the evenings enjoyment. Appropriate music and recognition of each military branch of service was given, and veterans from each branch stood when appropriate.
Speaker for the event was Tom Cook, a retired Army chaplain. He told of the many things we should be thankful for, such as turning up the heat when the house gets cold. Many thousands of veterans made that freedom to be warm possible.
The entire choir was made up of veterans in the church. The oldest choir member was Gene Martin, 93 years of age. A giant screen over the pulpit showed many pictures of the church’s veterans, both from World War II to those currently in service.
One photo of World War II photo of Eddie Gibson, 94, and a church member, showed him holding a plaque, announcing “Younger in heart, but older in other places.”
Special recognition was given to Lt. Col. (retired) Sharon Collins and her husband, Lt. Col. (retired) Burkitt Collins. Their son, Lt. Robert Collins, a 2004 graduate of Sandy Creek High School, was killed in action last year.
The church held an essay contest among the fifth graders in the county. There were 300 students who participated and these four were chosen:
Honorable mention, Madison Knowlton, Peeples Elementary; third place, Bailey Vessell, Sara Harp Minter Elementary; second place, Lilly Daras, Crabapple Lane Elementary, who also announced her mom was coming home from Afghanistan this week; and first place went to Johanna Haskew, Huddleston Elementary. Each student was given a monetary award and a certificate.
Rev. Stringham said they are looking forward to making this an annual event.