PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry’s United States Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps will host the annual Military Appreciation Night Sept. 5 as the event moves back this year to the school which debuted the observance locally.
According to First Sargent Ronald Montgomery, the event will return to its roots with a straightforward focus on veterans and the accomplishments of local JROTC units.
In addition to bringing the celebration back to its roots, the group is holding it at the start of the football season. Last year’s event was hosted at North Surry last year around mid-October.
“It has been a challenge with school starting this week to get everything lined up. It’s back to basics,” said Montgomery. “We wanted this to be an event simply honoring our veterans and giving them a pat on the back and JROTC units’ accomplishments getting recognition. “
Montgomery said all local veterans are invited to the event and are encouraged to get their old uniforms out “and starched up” for the special evening. He said Hutchens Cleaner and Laundry has volunteered to provide dry cleaning for veterans’ uniforms free of charge in connection with the appreciation night ceremonies.
The evening is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. with an informal mixer staged under the press box to allow veterans to mingle and enjoy some snacks.
“Veterans who have served in any of the Armed Services will get in free at the gate that night,” Montgomery said. “Each one will get a special discount card the cadets worked up for them with services from local businesses.”
Other events being planned for the evening include veterans being recognized by songs for their particular branch of the military and Cadet Anna Mertson will perform a patriotic song in their honor. JROTC units achievements will be formally honored by County Board of Education members after the first half.
Montgomery said the East Surry High School Boosters Club has also agreed to open up a special concession stand window for veterans where they may receive a complimentary hot dog, chips and drink.
“I’m just very excited East Surry has the opportunity to host this event,” said Principal Lorrie Sawyers. “We are happy to support the men and women who have served and done so much for all of us. It’s our way of giving back and saying thank you.”
The group has also announced its annual benefit car wash will be held on Sept. 6 from 9 a.m. until noon in the East Surry High bus parking lot. Donations of $5 per car are accepted with proceeds going towards JROTC activities such as Raider Competition.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-415-4739 or on Twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.