City of Dayton honors local military veterans

Amanda Wilson, community services director for the City of Dayton, visits with Melvin and Tommie Doucette, and other military veterans, as they make their way through the line for the Veterans Day Appreciation Luncheon, which was changed this year from a sit-down meal to a drive-thru meal due to COVID-19.

Military veterans were treated to a free lunch in recognition of Veterans Day on Wednesday in Dayton. The luncheon was sponsored by the City of Dayton with the assistance of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and Dayton High School Marine JROTC cadets.

By the time the event kicked off at 11 a.m., cars were lined up through the Dayton Community Center parking lot and onto S. Cleveland St. Amanda Wilson, who manages the community center for the City of Dayton, was pleased to see so many veterans had shown up for the event since it was changed to a drive-thru luncheon from a sit-down meal due to COVID-19.

City of Dayton administration and staff, and Dayton Chamber of Commerce staff pitched in to hand out meals at the Veterans Day Appreciation Luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the Dayton Community Center. The event was changed this year to a drive-thru meal system due to COVID-19. Pictured left to right are Jessica Sims, executive director of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, Councilman Andy Conner, Mayor Caroline Wadzeck, Community Center Director Amanda Wilson and Councilwoman Sherial Lawson.

“I was really worried that with us not having the big production we normally have that people might not show up. Obviously, judging by the line of cars stretched into the street, I shouldn’t have worried,” Wilson said.

The veterans who spoke to Bluebonnet News say they were honored that an event was still being held despite the challenges that the pandemic has created for everyone.

The entire event was sponsored by the City of Dayton.

“We didn’t go out for sponsors this year due to the fact that so many businesses are still trying to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown. The city instead chose to bless the community and its businesses by paying for the meals. It also helps our local restaurants with the extra business,” Wilson said.

Veterans and their guests picked from chicken sandwiches from Subway, fried chicken lunches from Chicken Express, hamburger steak meals from Dayton Diner, chicken quesadillas from Los Compadres, slice beef plates from Mike’s BBQ, seafood gumbo from Texas Seafood and Steakhouse, and stuffed baked potatoes from Pappy’s Barbecue.

To the veterans, Wilson offered her gratitude for coming to the event and, more importantly, for their service to the nation.

“Thank you all for your service. Our country would not be what it is without you,” she said.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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