Yankee Homecoming 2017 – Veteran’s Luncheon

Photo Credit: Byron Eaton – Newburyport Daily News

On August 1, 2017 Yankee Homecoming hosted their annual Veteran’s Luncheon. This event was started by Frank Ventura, a Korean War veteran and long time Newburyport resident. It was sponsored by his son Dan Ventura at Fairway Mortgage of Newburyport.

It’s been an honor to carry on this great tradition started by Frank. This year, over 120 veterans and their guests enjoyed a delicious meal at the Veteran Luncheon. The meal consisted of Pulled Pork sandwiches and coleslaw from Rusty Can in Byfield, MA. The salad and vegetables were donated by Vets & Veggies in Athol, MA. The coffee was donated by Battle Grounds Coffee Company in Haverhill, MA and Cares O-lot Confections provided a delicious American Flag cake along with other assorted desserts. Family and friends also donated desserts and other items.

 Veterans who served from World War II to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were served lunch by over 20 volunteers. There were several volunteers from the Yankee Homecoming Committee, employees from Fairway Mortgage, Turning Point and Domino’s Pizza. Several family members and friends also volunteered their time to help make this lunch a great day for our veterans. Fire Fighters from the Newbury Fire Department supported the event as well.

The lunch was so delicious that several veterans had two, three and even four pulled pork sandwiches. The cake went quickly and the coffee was so good they drank it all – not leaving a drop. Everyone who left was filled with joy and a good meal. All the volunteers were truly amazing and hospitable providing a great atmosphere for our veterans.

This year the Veteran’s Luncheon was held at the Newbury Firefighters’ Memorial Hall on Morgan Ave. The United States Coast Guard provided the Honor Guard and Marianne Talty from Salisbury, sang the National Anthem beautifully. Among those in attendance who showed their support were Senator Bruce Tarr, Dennis Marcello from Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives office, State Representative Lenny Mirra, State Representative James Kelcourse and Newburyport City Counselor Bob Cronin.

Dennis Marcello (Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives), Senator Bruce Tarr, Donald Jarvis, State Rep. Lenny Mirra, VSO Kevin Hunt, VSO Karen Tyler, and State Rep. James Kelcourse.

Local VSO’s (Veteran Service Officers) were also present. Veteran Service officers are in every community providing support to our veterans. Newburyport’s VSO Kevin Hunt is instrumental in helping his veterans and providing services for them. After my return from Afghanistan, Kevin was my VSO and was a huge help to me while I was still recovering from injuries. He provided supportive services and great advice. He showed me the importance of being there for a veteran during, what was for me a very difficult time. It was great to have him in attendance as well as Newbury’s VSO, Karen Tyler.

The luncheon is for veterans and it was an honor to host it. We relocated the event to a venue that was drug and alcohol free. Through my work of helping veterans, I’ve notice a lot of them battle with issues related to drugs and alcohol. I wanted to host the event in an environment that was friendly for all veterans and not problematic – and we did just that!

I would like to thank Fairway Mortgage for being the sponsor of this event. Also, thank you to Yankee Homecoming for hosting, along with everyone who volunteered their time and donated something to the event. But most importantly, I’d like to thank all the Veterans. If it wasn’t for Veterans where would we be?

To every veteran – Thank you for everything you have done for our country. Thank you for your selfless service, your dedication, devotion and love for our country… THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Video taken by Newbury Public Access:

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