Medal of Honor recipient to speak at 10th Annual Veterans Appreciation Banquet

Tabitha Fleming
Staff Writer

The Hutchinson County Veteran's Appreciation Banquet that will be held the first week in November is an annual event designed so that people can take time to appreciate the men and women who sacrificed so much to ensure the personal freedoms that Americans hold dear. Of course throughout the years the battlefields have changed, but even those who served in times of peace sacrificed for their nation by spending time away from families and friends and working tirelessly to preserve a lasting peace.
Borger will once again host this unique event; a combined effort by groups that all stand on their own proud history and bylaws. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), the American Legion, the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks (BPOE) and all their auxiliaries come together to appreciate and recognize members of all branches of service, and over the years, the event has grown to become the much anticipated and highly attended function that it is.
Each year during the banquet, a special keynote speaker comes to share their life experiences, and speak on the subjects of duty, honor of service, while recognizing those veterans attending the event. Past speakers have been national heroes and other recognized political figures. Scot King, a Marine who famously made a 14,000 mile cross-country trip via bicycle gathering state flags in each of the 48 continental United State's capitols spoke at the banquet two years ago. His 'Remember the Wounded' ride helped raise awareness for veterans nationally, much like the banquet does locally.
The Hutchinson County Veterans Appreciation Banquet has grown in the last decade from a small meal and ceremony to a 300+ guest event with keynote speakers. This year, the group is excited to welcome as the keynote speaker the distinguished Medal of Honor recipient Col. James P. Fleming who served in the United States Air Force.
Clayton Norton, chairman of the appreciation banquet committee, previously expressed his great gratitude not only for the people involved in organizing the event, but for the people the banquet is meant to honor. “The whole purpose of this event is to pay tribute and honor to veterans who have served our country and show them the dignity, and the honor, that they have earned,” said Norton. That's the goal of all the members of the appreciation banquet committee. This year's banquet will be held on Saturday, November 7, at the Borger Elks Lodge.