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May 12. 2013 9:50PM

Rotary Club cookout to honor Derry’s veterans

DERRY — What started as an event to honor the town’s World War II veterans five years ago has turned into an annual cookout honoring all Derry veterans.

This year, the Derry Rotary Club and the Derry Village Rotary Club is holding its annual veterans cookout on Thursday, May 30, at the Derry Boys and Girls Club at 5 p.m.

The event is free to Derry area veterans and a guest, and this year will feature several guest speakers, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

“This is a thank you for all veterans for their service to the country,” said Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Arthur McLean.

Five years ago, the town’s two Rotary clubs got together to bring about 15 World War II veterans and their loved ones to Washington, D.C., to visit the new World War II Memorial.

“We did the first (event) because the World War II veterans were in their late 80s or early 90s and we thought it might be their only chance to see the memorial,” said McLean.

In subsequent years, the clubs held dinners to honor Korean and Vietnam War veterans. Last year, the event was expanded to a cookout to honor veterans of all eras.

Police Chief Ed Garone said the response to the events has been overwhelmingly positive, especially from many of the Korean- and Vietnam-era veterans. For many of the veterans, he said, it was one of the first times they felt recognized and appreciated.

“That is what has motivated us at the Rotary clubs to keep doing this,” said McLean. “We need to thank them over and over again because they weren’t the first time.”

This year’s cookout will feature food, refreshments, entertainment and a gift for each veteran.

Any area veterans who wish to attend are asked to RSVP by May 28 by calling 674-8144 or emailing derryrotary@yahoo.com.

aswift@newstote.com


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