A Salute to Service: Saturday event in Farmville honors veterans

Published 9:54 am Thursday, November 9, 2023

It’s going to be a fairly large project, a ‘Salute to Service’, if you will. Billed as “the best darn Veterans Day event the heart of Virginia has ever seen,” a first-time extravaganza this Saturday will bring together music, food, a recognition ceremony and resources for those who have served the nation.

The “Salute to Service” event at Three Roads Brewing Co. in Farmville will serve up a festival atmosphere from 1-9 p.m., said veteran Kerby Moore, chairman of the committee that put the event together.

Food trucks from Grateful Fed, Sweet Redds and the Fishin’ Pig open to serve up favorites at noon, he said. Three Roads also will have adult beverages available throughout the event, with veterans receiving their first beer in a free commemorative cup.

Email newsletter signup

“Being a veteran is a serious thing. Serving your country is a serious thing,” Moore said. “But we also wanted an event that would be big and fun.”

While Saturday will include a ceremony to honor the fallen, Moore said “Veterans Day is for the veterans who are living.” He explained Memorial Day is when the nation honors those who gave their lives in service to the nation, adding it’s understandable how people get the two confused.

Patriotic music performed by the Heartland Community Band begins the festivities at 1 p.m., followed by an opening ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

“We’re gonna acknowledge Gold Star families, purple heart recipients, Korean War vets,” Moore said, along with all others who have served in the military.

The ceremony will include an a cappella rendition of the National Anthem by the Sweet Adelines, presentation of the colors, “Taps” and the official songs of each branch of the military, he said. 

“It’s going to be a somber, moving, maybe even a mist in the eye sort of part of the program. And that’s perfectly appropriate. We should do that.”

Learning more about benefits

Veterans attending also can learn more about benefits available to them and organizations that serve their interests 1-5 p.m.

Moore said it will be a kind of one-stop shop for veterans offering a chance to learn about and visit with members of the VFW and American Legion. 

Several of the booths are designed to inform veterans about the benefits that veterans may be entitled to.

Moore pointed to the local organization, Piedmont Area Veterans Council. 

“They are wonderful about helping veterans with all the paperwork, jumping through all the hurdles they have to jump through with the VA (Veterans Administration),” he said. “That’s a wonderful resource locally. They do just an amazing job there.”

There will also be booths from Daughters of the American Revolution, Farmville Jarheads, We Honor Veterans hospice program, Longwood University’s Home and Abroad veterans’ writing program, Military Officers Association of America and Trinity Memorial Garden Cemetery, which has created a veterans’ section where those who served can be laid to rest with their family members.

The chaplain program from McGuire VA Hospital in Richmond will be on hand to share information about services offered.

“They have all kinds of virtual services that they can do, telephone services that they can do, all kinds of crisis hotlines that they can do prevention services,” Moore explained. “Veterans, including me, don’t even know that they have that sort of reach. It’s free. It’s a wonderful program.”

Additionally, he said the Virginia Department of Veteran Services will have a booth to share all the things they can bring to the table.

He said any veteran who attends the event will find out there’s just a lot going on that they didn’t know about.

More about ‘Salute to Service’  

Throughout the afternoon, the National Guard Armory will have some of its equipment there to see and learn about. 

“We’re bringing military equipment for everybody to go visit and look at, but the young ones can climb on it,” Moore said, adding it will be fun. “Sit behind the wheel of a Humvee. Get your picture taken.”

After the opening ceremonies, those attending can enjoy music provided by area deejays. Overall, Moore said the day is planned to be very upbeat with lots of music from the 1960s and ‘70s.

From 2-5 p.m., enjoy music provided by Emilio Garcia, a communications major at Longwood University. Then from 5-8 p.m., DJ Baddogg provides the sounds.

“If people want to shake a leg, they can go up there and do it,” he said, noting there will be a space for dancing.

Because most of the event is outside, Moore encourages those planning to attend to check the weather and dress appropriately. Wear a jacket and bring a blanket to stay warm, he said. Plans for the setup include fire pits that will help with the expected brisk 50-degree temperatures. Additionally, he encouraged those attending to bring a lawn chair.

“We hope everybody, we hope all the veterans wear shirts, hats, etcetera, reflecting their branch of service,” he said. “Everybody else, we hope you’ll dress in red, white and blue.”

The event is one for the entire family and those who support veterans. 

“Young people need to learn patriotism. They need to know that the freedoms they have is because somebody died, lots of people died somewhere along the way,” Moore said. “You may never know them. But if you got a freedom of speech, if you have freedom of religion, somebody dies for that, right? And people continue to die every generation to keep those rights going.”

Important to acknowledge service

He said it’s important to acknowledge the people who are willing to serve, noting a famous quote he believes they need to understand.

“A veteran is someone who signs a blank check payable to America for any amount, up to and including their lives,” Moore noted. “Not many people are willing to stand up and do that, but veterans are willing to do that. It’s pretty incredible.”

He said he believes young people need to know all of this and that patriotism is “A-OK.”

Plus, the ‘Salute to Service’ is not just for local vets from Prince Edward County, Moore said, noting it is open to everyone throughout the region.

“If somebody’s worn the uniform, they are welcome,” he said, adding that this includes anyone who is patriotic and supports veterans.

“We went to great lengths to coordinate to the best of our ability not to interfere with any of these others or step on anybody’s toes,” Moore said, noting there are many other events planned around Veterans Day.

Building on what’s come before

To plan this event, which builds on the program the brewery has held for years, he said they brought together a lot of people who started planning the event in February. By bringing the expertise of many people together from the community, and with the brewery allowing them to meet there monthly, they were able to put the Salute to Service together.

Moore said they encourage those attending to save the parking closest to the brewery for veterans who have limited mobility.

“If you’re an able-bodied person, leave that parking lot alone,” he said. “We want our elderly and disabled veterans to be able to park there.”

A six-seat shuttle will be on hand to help transport those who need assistance. If parking becomes limited, he recommends dropping off anyone who needs assistance at the brewery and the volunteers will be there to help.

Free parking is available at the Farmer’s Market, Farmville Presbyterian Church, Farmville Wholesale Electric’s lot, the municipal lot behind Caryn’s Bridals, the train station, the gravel lot below the brewery and on nearby streets without “Residential Parking Only” signs.  For folks who don’t mind a seven-minute walk, additional parking is available on the west side of Main Street, behind Macado’s on the corner of South and Second streets.

Groups including the Rotary Club of Farmville and Longwood ROTC are volunteering to assist during the day, Moore noted.

The event will be held rain or shine Saturday at Three Roads Brewing Co., 312 W. Third St. in Farmville.

“I just love hanging around veterans,” Moore said. “There’s something about them.”

‘Salute to Service’ offers opportunity

The event offers a great opportunity to meet new friends and fellow veterans with the long picnic tables at the brewery.

“They could just sit down at a table and start talking to somebody they had never met and they might find a new friend,” Moore said. “Just by chatting.”

For more information on the event, call 434-414-4494.