The event runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Civic Center. The air-conditioned exhibit and event is a very brief walk from other Fun Fest events happening at the same time, like The Taste and today’s Hot Air Balloon Glow. Several organizations that honor and help veterans will be on hand to educate visitors. Visitors can also look at a temporary memorial exhibit that honors Tennessee’s post-9/11 fallen.
“The last thing these families want is for their loved ones to be forgotten,” said Cindy Humphrey, vice president of the Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council (TC-MAC). For Humphrey, several of the service members honored in the memorial are familiar; she served as a notification or assistance officer for many of their families. With this memorial and others throughout the country, Americans are remembering their recent fallen.
TC-MAC provides resources, encouragement and assistance to veterans within a 70-mile radius of Kingsport. Made up of many different veterans’ organizations and businesses, it is one of only three similar nonprofits in Tennessee. Humphrey relates the story of a young veteran who, after being injured in training camp, fell behind on his bills as his paperwork for federal assistance took months to process. TC-MAC was able to connect the young man with financial assistance and even paid his remaining bills.
Other organizations present at A Walk Through History With Veterans are American Legion, AMVETS, the Korean War Veterans Mountain Empire Chapter, and Kingsport’s chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. American Legion serves all veterans and their families, while the other organizations serve veterans from specific conflicts.
For the veterans staffing the event, their organizations are a way to help other veterans who need assistance or community.
“It’s a way for me to give back,” said David Mead, membership chairman of the local chapter of American Legion. “Some people pick up cans from the street. I volunteer for the American Legion and the Tennessee State Guard.”
If you are a veteran, or if a loved one has served or is serving in the military, this Fun Fest event provides valuable information on local organizations by and for veterans.
“A lot of veterans don’t know how to get help,” said Mead.
Whether they need the support of other veterans, meaningful volunteer work, or assistance with paperwork or finances, there is someone at this Fun Fest event who can help.