Eminence Church hosts second annual Veteran’s Breakfast

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[November 14, 2016]  On Saturday morning, the Eminence Christian Church in rural Atlanta hosted its second annual Veteran’s Breakfast, honoring veterans from around the area.

Several attended the breakfast including folks who arrived by bus from the Christian Village in Lincoln.

As guests arrived, they were greeted by members of the Eminence Church, who took coats and hats and pinned red carnations on each veteran. Guests were invited to take a seat, and volunteers quickly made the rounds filling cups with coffee as the former soldiers enjoyed a time of visiting.


When everyone had arrived, Gil Turner of the church welcomed all the veterans to the breakfast. The nation's colors were then presented by Mike Horath, as the veterans and guests stood for the Pledge of Allegiance. Turner then delivered the morning blessing for the food, and veterans were invited to fill their plates from the buffet breakfast. Food offered included eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and cinnamon rolls. Volunteers stepped in and assisted those who needed help through the line, and also prepared and delivered full plates to those who were not up for the time spent standing in line.

When everyone was nearly finished with their meal, Marsha Fernandes, who got the annual breakfast started last year, asked that the veterans introduced themselves and tell a bit about their service to our country. Going around the room, several of the veterans were from the World War II era, with a smaller number reporting they served in Korea or Viet Nam, and one reporting that he had served in Desert Storm as well as other conflicts since then that are known and unknown to the general public.

While all the veterans present were noted for their sacrifice and service to our country, there were some who stood out - a father and son, both veterans; and the only female veteran.

Of the father-son duo, the son, Rich Shoemaker was the first to stand and speak followed by his father Bill. Bill brought laughs to the crowd when he said ‘I’m Bill Shoemaker, his father... I think.” It was also noted later that next month, Bill would turn 97 years old.

Lea McEntire was the only lady veteran in the group. She shared that she served in World War II as a W.A.V.E. - Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service program. Afterward Lea shared that she was also honored to have gotten to go on an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. and that her son is the owner of McEntire Appliance in Lincoln.

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Among others on hand were Jim Harnacke, Commander of the local Marine Corp League, and Joe Schaler, the driving force behind the recent formation of the Veteran’s Assistance Commission for Logan County.

Joining Schaler on Saturday was Dan Benedict, the recently hired superintendent for the VAC, and also a veteran.

When Mike Horath stood to introduce himself, he talked about his time serving during the Viet Nam War. He spoke about the use of chemical warfare in that war, and the devastating effects of Agent Orange on Viet Nam veterans. He said that he too was suffering the consequences of the use of that chemical.

When Benedict introduced himself, he quickly drew an example of Horath and agent orange, saying that many veterans do not know that there is assistance through the VAC for the care needed after being impacted by agent orange.

Benedict went on to say that his job is to work with and for the veterans of Logan County. His mission is to see that veterans get what they need to live their daily lives, and most importantly that he is available to make certain they are getting all the military benefits they have earned through their selfless service to our country.

When all the veterans had spoken, Fernandes said that in the group today were some widows of veterans, and she wanted those women to be acknowledged as well. The widows also stood and introduced themselves, and noted their husbands’ service to the country.

After the introductions, a trio of students from Lincoln Christian University sang two patriotic songs. Hannah Dusenberry, Aly McDonald, and M.J. Brand delivered a magnificent rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, followed by America the Beautiful.

Eminence Pastor L.C. Sutton closed the day with prayer. Before the prayer, the pastor spoke about the men and women in the room and their importance to our country. He drew a comparison with the Viet Nam Wall, where so many names are engraved forever. He told the veterans that they too have their names engraved in the hearts of the Eminence Church and the country.

Pastor Sutton closed in prayer by reading from Roman’s 16. “Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith. To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

Guests were invited to stay as long as desired, to enjoy the remainder of the coffee and time together as men and women with a common bond of military service.

Each veteran was also given a copy of the book “In God We Still Trust” by Dr. Richard G. Lee, and an American flag lapel pin.

[Nila Smith]

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