COPPERAS COVE — Camaraderie and fellowship were words of the day on Friday as more than 150 members of local veterans organizations gathered at the Copperas Cove Civic Center for the third annual Area Veterans Advisory Committee (AVAC) veterans dinner and dance social.

The 2016 banquet began by recognizing two Vietnam veterans for their service. Copperas Cove Mayor Frank Seffrood and William “Bill” Hecke were presented with their Vietnam 50th Commemoration certificates and pins and officially given the “Welcome Home” they didn’t receive after returning from combat.

“We did our service, and we are proud to have done it,” Seffrood said. “We would do it again if we were called to.”

Following the presentation, the guests of honor were introduced. Eight Gold Star spouses and children were presented with a yellow rose, followed by a video tribute presentation featuring photos of their fallen loved one.

“We always do this in November, because of Veterans Day,” said Adrienne Evans-Quickley, president of the Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association. “This is the first time we’ve held this in Copperas Cove. We had a really good turnout, especially since we weren’t able to get the tickets out until the Saturday before Veterans day.”

Members of WACVA and Operation Stand Down-Central Texas — a woman veteran-run nonprofit to help homeless veterans — organized the event. Entertainment was provided by Jazz saxophonist Saxual Rashad and disc jockey Dr. J. Food was provided by O’Taste & See Catering, a veteran-owned business, and more than a dozen Cove businesses pitched in gift baskets and certificates as door prizes.

“Overall, I think it went really well,” said Joann Courtland, an Army veteran who founded Operation Stand Down-Central Texas. “I think everyone really had a good time. And to have the Gold Star families here and to recognize them was very special to me. I’m so glad they were able to come and enjoy themselves.”

Courtland said that the businesses of Cove really stepped up and represented the city.

“They really wanted to embrace the fact that this is the first time AVAC has had an event here,” she said. “This is about celebrating our military service and our military families. I’m glad everyone had a good time.” | 254-501-7554

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