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Church creates annual 'Veterans Day' to honor vets in summertime

Grace Communion International and King City Friday Bible Study Group combine to honor local veterans


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - UNEXPECTED GIFTS - After receiving patriotic quilts from Elisabeth Hampton (in background holding quilt), veterans line up to register with host Billie Reynolds.
The Portland congregation of Grace Communion International, along with help from the King City Friday Bible Study Group, hosted the annual King City veterans' celebration June 29.

Enjoying the festivities were 84 community participants, including 17 veterans who served in World War II and Vietnam who were all presented with patriotic quilts by Rev. Elisabeth Hampton of Oregon Quilting, which also has a monthly TV show.

Pastor Dee Bulante of Grace Communion emceed the event, which included trumpet player Chuck Marsh, a member of the Tualatin Valley Community Band, sounding "Reveille," plus a formal presentation of the flag by Carl Keene and five cadets of the Portland Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.

Sherrie Harries sang the national anthem, and Judy Gascon, wearing a military uniform like one worn by her father when he served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, played all the military branch songs on the piano.

by: HANK LAGEMAN - PROUD AND PATRIOTIC - All the veterans at the veterans' celebration hosted by Grace Communion International and the King City Bible Study Group gather together for a portrait June 29.The veterans were asked to stand in acknowledgement when their military branch song was played.

Bulante then showed two video interviews with local veterans, including Frank Passmore of King City, a WWII veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star, and Dave Hill, a helicopter pilot who served three tours of duty in Vietnam.

Sherwood resident Jennifer Lamaye spoke briefly about Mission Mahalo, which she formed in 2010 to support those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan by sending more than 1,000 care packages to date.

Common but special items include soap, CDs, candy, comics and other toiletries, and Mission Mahalo has received a multitude of thank you notes and emails from overseas troops.

At the conclusion of the event, a fine picnic-style lunch was prepared and served by very cheerful ladies from the Portland congregation and the King City Friday Bible Study Group.

Organizers reported that there were so many thanks and compliments afterwards that the event will be held again next year.

Not untypical were descriptions of the event, including "absolutely first class."

The Portland congregation of Grace Communion may be small (20-something), but members are highly motivated to serve and participate with their King City neighbors, including the Friday Bible Study Group, in community events. Being of service with a smile is one of their key strengths.