May 26, 2011 - On Saturday, residents from all over Fannin County converged on the Multi-Purpose Complex to honor and celebrate the area's Veterans, Military servicemen and women along with the area's senior citizens with dinner and entertainment. The 13th Annual Armed Forces Day Dinner and Celebration event provided the attendees with entertainment by Rita Fulmer during a catfish and chicken fried steak dinner from Cappy's Caf. Many of the tables were adorned with flags representing the five branches of our Armed Forces while the stage held a pride-inspiring picture of eight United States Flags and two State of Texas Flags.
Melanie Grammar, President of the Fannin County Republican Women and event organizer, started off the evening with a welcome to all. Criminal District Attorney Richard Glaser recognized the various county and city officials who were in attendance. Recognition was given to the corporate and individual sponsors who made it possible to host an event for the entire community to enjoy.
"Without the generous help of these incredible sponsors an evening such as this would be very difficult to offer," said Grammar.
The evening was filled with many uplifting moments starting with the Presentation of Colors by the Mike Baker Chapter 129. Nancy Young led the attendees in the pledges to both the United States flag and the Texas flag. Brother Bill Beasley, himself a Veteran and former POW, provided the invocation. Colonel Benton Danner, son of Richard and Mary Danner of Bonham, recognized all the veterans in attendance.
The evening progressed as Congressman Ralph Hall gave a short entertaining and informative discussion of the current political state of affairs in Washington.
The Congressman then introduced the keynote speaker for the evening Captain Scott O'Grady. Captain O'Grady kept the audience spellbound as he told of his incredible story of survival in the hostile areas of Bosnia for six days after being shot down in his F-16 aircraft before being rescued by U.S. Marines in 1995. His inspirational story of how his belief in God kept him alive during his ordeal had many shedding a tear or two. Afterwards O'Grady autographed his book Basher Five-Two for the high school seniors who were being honored for their contribution in the Patriot Scholarship Essay contest.
The evening also included the recognition of the three winners of the Richard Deweese Patriot Scholarship who were receiving awards to help as they further their education upon graduation. Joyce Buchanan, chair of the scholarship committee presented the first place award to Cameron Miller of Savoy High School. Aaron Shanks of Leonard High and Xavier Brown who attends Fannindel High received awards as runner ups. The Patriot Scholarship Essay contest was open to all high school seniors throughout Fannin County. The Armed Forces Day Dinner Celebration will continue to be offered by the Fannin County Republican Party as a way to honor all veterans and citizens for their special places inFannin County.
Pictured above are (top) Captain Scott O'Grady sharing his story of survival with those in attendance, and (bottom) Scholarship Committee Chairperson Joyce Buchanan presenting Leonard High School senior Aaron Shanks with his runner-up certificate in the Richard Deweese Patriot Scholarship program.
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