Originally Published: November 27, 2016 6 a.m.
The Republican Women of Prescott hosted its third annual tribute to American veterans Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Prescott Resort & Conference Center. RWOP members generously donate money throughout the year, making it possible to invite Yavapai County veterans to a complimentary luncheon in their honor. This year, they hosted 170 veterans.
The Prescott High School Jr. ROTC Color Guard posted the Colors, Prescott resident, James Grandjean sang a stirring rendition of Star Spangled Banner, LD1 Representative Noel Campbell read “The Better Men of Yavapai County,” a tribute to five lost Yavapai soldiers, followed by the POW/MIA Ceremony read by RWOP member Maxine Dillahunty, an Army Nurse Corp veteran. Don Mansfield finished the opening ceremony with a hymn on the bag pipes.
The keynote speaker was Gary Clemmons, Vietnam veteran and author of the book “War and Memories.” Clemmons talked about going to Vietnam as a 19-year-old Marine and the hardships of living with PTSD after returning home. He often talks to veterans groups and gives copies of his book free of charge to veterans coping with PTSD.
RWOP’s Caring for America project was Toys for Tots. Joe Iungerman of the Marine Corps League gave a brief history of the Toys for Tots program and thanked RWOP members and guests for their generosity. RWOP gave $388 in cash donations and 450 toys. Iungerman was joined by several other members of the Marine Corps League to receive the donations. A raffle ticket was given to attendees for each toy donated and a drawing for prizes from The Palace, The Prescott Resort and Rosa’s followed the Toys for Tots presentation.
To conclude the program, RWOP members Carie Hughes, U.S. Navy Kristy Kennedy and Janelle Devin spiced up the luncheon with an old favorite “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” The vets loved it and the comments were so touching on how they brought back memories and enjoyed the performance.