DOBSON —A sudden afternoon rain storm had organizers of the first annual Surry County Veterans Appreciation Night a little worried.
“It certainly dampened things a little bit, but hey, at least it will be a cool night,” said organizer and county Veterans Services Officer Mike Scott.
All the worry was for nothing, as it turned out.
Shortly before the Rockin’ Rollercoasters took the stage at 6 p.m., the skies brightened and sun shone down on Fisher River Park.
It was fitting.
“Our goal with this event is to simply show our appreciation for our veterans and their families,” Scott told the more than 300-person audience. “In the military, we earn a lot of medals and awards, and sometimes it can feel like when you get out those don’t seem to mean anything anymore.”
Scott urged the crowd to offer the county’s veterans a kind word.
“Nothing can make a veteran feel better than someone shaking their hand and telling you thank you,” he said. “That means the world to them.”
The event kicked off with a solemn remembrance conducted by the North Surry High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, and their instructor Col. John Bowes said it wasn’t hard to get a color guard together during the summer.
“Whenever there’s something going on for our veterans we want to take that opportunity to thank them and recognize their service when we can,” he said.
Bowes looked over at an honor guard standing at attention in the muggy heat. They didn’t flinch despite sweat running down their faces.
He became quiet.
“We could have had three times that number here tonight,” he said proudly.
The event also featured a cruise-in by the Thunder Road Cruisers, and organizer Robert Brindle said the group came out simply to show its appreciation for veterans.
“We wanted to do our part to get a crowd out here supporting the veterans,” he said. “They certainly deserve to be recognized for their service.”
The appreciation was more than welcome for Misti Young, whose husband is a disabled veteran.
“We just wanted to come out and support not only my husband, but all the veterans in the county,” she said. “We certainly should appreciate our veterans, and it’s great that the local veteran’s services office is doing this.
“More people should take the time to recognize the veterans, not just here, but all over the county.”
Scott said the event was fitting.
“When a veteran comes home, there’s nothing he wants more than someone patting him on the back and telling him they appreciate what he did for the country,” he said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do here today.”
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.