Operation Veteran and Caregiver Support hosted our 2nd Carry-In and Open Mic Night on Wednesday November 29th at the Tipp Center. We provided ham and cupcakes and invited our veterans to bring their favorite dishes to round out the meal. We had a wide variety of dishes, all made with love. Homemade baked beans, alfredo pasta, pineapple casserole (with cheese!), Angels in a Cloud, pumpkin cake and more all graced the table. Our Director Valerie made a few announcements about upcoming events, blessed the meal, and dinner was served!
After everyone had begun to eat, it was time for a few special presentations. We wanted to recognize a few of our volunteers who always answer the call, going above and beyond to help support the mission. Chris and Adam Webb are both veterans, who have volunteered at many of our events, but the standout events was the December evening they stood out in the cold during the Mid-Ohio Jeep Organization’s Christmas Light Ride at Lost Creek, gathering canned goods. They will also be taking the lead on our car show events in 2024.
Our next volunteers to be honored were Jim & Cheryl Erbaugh. They are always quick to volunteer their truck, their time, and their enthusiasm. They were pivotal to the success of our 2023 Snow Cones & School Supplies event at WACO in Troy. Without their help, our office wouldn’t look as put together as it does!
Next we honored some special veterans. While all veterans are important to us, these two have gone out of their way to show us that we are special to them. Our first veteran to be honored was Steve Shauer. He was awarded with a Perfect Attendance award, having attended every Muster & Mingle event since December 2021. At that December event, he was our only non-Operation Veteran and Caregiver Support volunteer in attendance. He told us “This is a great idea, I hope you get more veterans!” We are so proud that in the 2 years since that first event, Muster & Mingle now averages about 60 veterans and their family members!
We honored Roger Jones next. Roger has been un-officially dubbed the ‘Welcome Wagon’ for all of our events. Whenever he sees a face or two new to Muster & Mingle or at one of our events, he makes a beeline for them, engaging them in conversation and making them feel welcome. Our events have gotten so large that we aren’t always able to engage every new face in a meaningful way, so Roger is a much needed part of the team; even if it’s unofficial.
After our awards presentation, we opened up the floor for our Open Mic night. We were honored to hear the stories of several veterans, as well as some jokes from our younger crew. It was a great night of storytelling, laughter, and food!