WALLACE — The monthly Wallace Elks Lodge No. 331 veterans dinner had more guests than usual last week as local Vietnam veterans showed up for a special ceremony just for them.
Rolled into their monthly veterans appreciation dinner, the Elks played host to the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration Pinning Ceremony on Oct. 29.
The ceremony, presented by Spokane County Regional Veterans Center Officers Joe Dumlao and Stu Sturtevant, was held to thank Vietnam veterans for their service during the war.
Following the initial dinner prepared and served by the Wallace Elks Lodge kitchen staff, veterans and their family moved from the ground floor dinning room to the classically elegant ballroom on the second floor for the main festivities.
The pinning ceremony kicked off with a presentation of the colors from the Kellogg High School JROTC. Following that was a reading of the Congressional proclamation sanctioning the event, some history talk, videos being shown and of course the pinning presentation.
By the time everything wrapped up, 59 Vietnam veterans from the Silver Valley had received a commemoration lapel pin for their service.
In accordance with Public Law 110-191 SEC, the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
Service members who served in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, are eligible to receive the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin and participate in the ceremony.
Wallace Elks Veterans Committee Chairman Sharon Howard was incredibly pleased with the turnout and plans to host the ceremony annually “until all Silver Valley Vietnam veterans are properly welcomed home!”
The Wallace Elks Lodge veteran dinners started in July 2018. Since then, they have served over 600 dinners and connected with over 100 veterans from the Silver Valley.
While the dinners are free to veterans, members of the community are always welcome to join for a small fee. Money collected from the dinners is donated back to the Wallace Elks Veterans Program for future dinners. The next dinner will be held on Dec. 26 from 5:30-7 p.m.
To learn more about the Wallace Elks Lodge Veteran’s Committee programs, contact the lodge at 208-753-4255 or Howard at 509-230-7373.