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Serving those who served

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Judy Evans smiles as she oversees the dessert table and collects donations at the veteran’s barbeque at the Elk’s Lodge on Wednesday evening. Dressed in festive attire, Evans said she is a volunteer that loves her life and her country. (Alison Penn Photo)

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The Elk’s Lodge and Sertoma Club invited veterans and their families to celebrate Independence Day with barbeque.

A veteran picks up a single serving of butter while Connie Wolf, Keon Ahghar, Alex Pankey, Bob Stansell, Bill Wolf and Howard Allman prepare to serve him from the food selection. (Alison Penn Photo)

In a collaborative effort, Adriane Raven, Elks Lodge vice president, said the Sertoma Club volunteers to serve the food and the Elk’s Lodge, located at 1720 N. Montana Ave., holds the event and prepares the food.

“It’s to support Roswell veterans and anybody else — we don’t turn anyone away,” John Williams, the event coordinator, said. “It’s our way of giving something back to the community, so we call it the Veterans’ Appreciation Barbeque.”

Wilson said 500 to 700 people were expected and 250 pounds of brisket and 140 pounds of potato and macaroni salad were made for them. Wilson said the barbeque event was started 12 years ago.

Sertoma’s newly elected president of the club, David Gomez said he felt this event creates an opportunity for veterans to socialize with other veterans and community members.

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“To me it’s an honor to help and meet the veterans,” Gomez said. “At least I’ll get to recognize a few gentlemen — that means a lot to me. After all, they served our country — we need to thank them for serving. We’re just happy that they served our country and we’re here to serve them.”

Jerry Martin said he has volunteered for the barbeque in the past and he felt this event had significant importance. His son Zane Martin, 8, a student at Missouri Avenue Elementary School, said it was important to serve veterans because many of those in armed forces lost their lives and Jerry Martin added that their sacrifice was “for our freedoms.” Saying Independence Day was his household’s favorite holiday, Jerry Martin said their tradition was to volunteer for the barbeque and watch the Roswell Sertoma Club’s Mike Satterfield July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza at the Cielo Grande recreation area.

Bob Lynd, a Sertoma club member, said Elks Lodges host Fourth of July barbeques for veterans nationwide. Lynd said many of the volunteers are members of both the Elks Lodge and Sertoma Club. Lynd said civic service clubs have an interest of providing “service to mankind.”

Though he helped with the barbeque on Wednesday, Lynd said he was also a Vietnam veteran and spent 28 years in the army after he graduated from Virginia Military Institue in 1950. Lynd also said he taught military science and was in charge of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at New Mexico Military Institute in the ‘70s.

As a veteran and volunteer, Lynd said when veterans return from their service, they can return in good shape or face challenges such as physical injuries or mental illnesses — so events like this can be helpful for the veterans and provide a free meal. Also a proud American, Lynd said there is no other country like America.

“You cannot go anywhere — I don’t care whether it’s England or where (ever) — but you cannot go anywhere and find what we have in this country,” Lynd said.

A coast guard veteran, David Eaton, along with his wife Mickie Eaton and his sister-in-law Alice Woods, said he had attended the veterans’ barbeque for around eight years. Eaton said he enjoyed his meal and the social aspect of connecting with other veterans and their families. Saying he thought the Elks Lodge and Sertoma club were charitable, David Eaton said he appreciated the event and hopes that U.S. citizens remember the significance of the Fourth of July holiday.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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