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The annual dinner, held to show appreciation for local veterans and their families, will be held on November 17 at Ron's Comfort Food Cafe

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Veterans Appreciation Dinner will take place in person, as it did in 2019.

After a hiatus due to COVID restrictions, the annual Veteran's Appreciation Dinner will once again be served in-person, with a drive-up option available.

The annual event on Nov. 17 is available to all veterans, including active-duty service members and their families. In addition to the dinner, there will be a number of community partners in attendance to share information about resources for veterans, as well as a short presentation of Service Awards at 5 p.m.

The event begins at 4 p.m. and goes to 7 p.m. Ron's Comfort Foods will once again serve dinner. During last year's drive-through event, there were 225 meals served to veterans.

"It was all drive-through, all out at the Meadow Lakes Golf Club where Ron's Comfort Foods is located. We did that last year, and we felt it was a success, given the restrictions at the time. It wasn't that far off from the previous year in 2019," pointed out Erik Nelson, executive director for Crook County Veterans Services.

Nelson went on to explain the importance of offering an in-person event this year.

"When we talk about mental health with veterans, it is PTSD-centric, but there is a lot of what you would call garden-variety mental health conditions — depression and anxiety that just stem from the disconnect of veterans and the regular community."

He also emphasized that when they do events for veterans, whether it is an outreach event or a celebration event, they are trying to connect those two things together.

"We want the community to see the veteran population, and see how central it is to a small, rural area like this. We also want to show our appreciation to show the veteran community how much we care about them, and in times like the pandemic when they may feel the most alone, they are not. That is why we do stuff like this," Nelson said emphatically.

During 2019, they served 265 veteran meals. Nelson said that they do a manual head count, and this year they once again looked at COVID restrictions. They were able to set the event up at the Carey Foster Hall, with all the appropriate guidelines and signage. There will be a drive-through option for those who do not wish to do a sit-down dinner.

"At this point, it is more about reaching the veterans who are here in town and supporting them. That is why we have invited service organizations to participate."

He indicated that this included setting up tables for organizations who provide resources, on the wall on the outside of the tables for the banquet. It includes Cascade East Transit, Best Care, Central Oregon Chaplain, Quilts of Valor, Neighbor Impact, Hospice of Redmond Transitions, and organizations who offer services for veterans in Prineville.

"We are there to celebrate veterans and their service and show them our appreciation for them and their families for what they have done, but we are also there to try to connect them to some resources that they haven't previously gotten to. This is a really great opportunity to do that, so that is why we are doing that," added Nelson of the addition of the organizations at the dinner.

The Prineville Police Department and Crook County Sheriff's Office will be serving at the banquet, which has been a tradition in past years. There will also be volunteers to help veterans and families through the drive-through, if that is what they choose. Crook County Veterans Services also provides food to Carriage Place and Ashley Manor for the nine veterans who are in either of these two facilities.

Crook County Veterans services also supports the Crook County Sheriff's Office and the Prineville Police Department in the No-Shave November. It is an annual charity event that these local agencies observe where men do not shave, groom, or cut their facial hair for the entire month of November as a way of raising awareness and money to fight cancer. For the veterans' services, the proceeds go to help veteran cancer survivors or the children of veteran cancer survivors to help with expenses and cancer awareness.

Annual Veteran's Appreciation Dinner

November 17

4 to 7 p.m.

Ron's Comfort Food Cafe

Organizations will be present to share information and resources for veterans

Ron's Comfort Foods will serve dinner

For more information call Crook County Veterans Services at 541-447-5304

Sidebar

Annual Veteran's Appreciation Dinner

November 17

4 to 7 p.m.

Ron's Comfort Food Cafe

Organizations will be present to share information and resources for veterans

Ron's Comfort Foods will serve dinner

For more information call Crook County Veterans Services at 541-447-5304


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