Wednesday, 23 January 2019 21:03

Veterans have reserved parking in recognition for their service Featured

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Dillon Kilpatrick, Wallace Wester, Jeff Snell, Lowell Centers, Leon Kelly, Earnest McNeill, Isaac Williams, Jesse Smallwood and Calvin Lockey Dillon Kilpatrick, Wallace Wester, Jeff Snell, Lowell Centers, Leon Kelly, Earnest McNeill, Isaac Williams, Jesse Smallwood and Calvin Lockey Shelia Mader | TIMES

The Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association has always been a huge supporter of our veterans and thankful for their service. In an effort to show their continued support, the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association partnered with the city of Marianna to get reserved parking for Purple Heart Recipients or Vietnam Veterans throughout the city.

Jeff Snell said, “Back in 2018, we started an initiative in the area, especially in the cattle industry is populated heavily with veterans. We wanted to do something to honor these guys for their commitment and sacrifice to our country. One of the things we came up with was the Purple Heart reserved parking space. That is what we moved forward with. We have several of the Purple Hearts Reserved Parking signs and we are going to place the first one here in front of the Ag Center. We partnered with the City of Marianna and we are going to place some around the city. This is as a tribute to our veterans in thanks for their service to our country.”  Snell said they presently have three spots for the signs but he is confident this is going to grow in numbers. Snell said about honoring the Vietnam veterans even though it had been years since that war ended, “We have members, one of our board members has three purple hearts, a silver star and a bronze star. He’s just like most of these other guys, you’ll never hear him talk about it. He’s shy about it. They’re all heroes but they don’t view themselves as heroes. They will tell you the heroes are still fighting or they didn’t get to come home and that’s the way they view it. This is just our way of honoring them to show our appreciation to them for what they have done for our country and what they continue to do for our community.”  

One of those Vietnam veterans said they didn’t join the service to be honored, but it is appreciated. Earnest McNeill is the vice commander of the Ted Walt VFW Post 12046 in Marianna. He was present for the presentation and said of the recognition, “This is exciting for us, for the Vietnam veterans who weren’t recognized when we returned from the battlefields.  We were told to change out of our uniforms because there were riots.  It was just a bad scene for us.  It is great now to be recognized along with our purple heart’s veterans. Most of us are starting to get on up in age.” About being recognized, “Nobody goes over to a war zone to win a purple heart, I mean that’s just one of those things that happens, and sometimes you get recognized, sometimes you don’t. But it’s great that they’re recognizing the Vietnam veterans. That really does my heart good.”

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Shelia Mader

Sports Editor