More than 150 veterans and their guests were honored at a breakfast sponsored by the First Baptist Church Military Ministry team on Thursday morning. The breakfast was also the gathering place for many of veterans that participated in the city’s Fourth of July Parade.
Heading up the team hosting the breakfast was Dan McClinton, assistant pastor at FBC and Baylor Hospital chaplain.
We started doing this two years ago to recognize our area veterans and thank them for their service to our country. We enjoy doing this. Many members of the church are involved in volunteering the food and serving our vets,” McClinton said.
The church’s military ministry team supports both veterans and active duty persons and their families.
“This is just one way that we help these veterans and bring them together,” McClinton said.
The hall was filled with veterans, some wearing uniforms they served in while on active duty and some who are currently on active duty. Many displayed baseball caps with the emblem of the branch of the service in which they had served and the conflicts they participated in.
Many World War II and Korean vets were present.
Sitting in his dress Air Force blue uniform was John Wetherell.
“I was a bombardier during Korea. I few in B29’s, B-57’s and KC139 during my 21 years of service,” Wetherell said.
When asked about his thoughts about today’s military, Wetherell said a vet is vet. No matter if they were male or female; when they served; no matter what branch of the service; if they have honorably served our country they are veterans.
Wetherell’s dedication to his service is a strong as when he first enlisted during the Korean War.
“Several years back I tried to re-enlist. Even without my legs, there is still something I can do to serve and help out. They told me I was too old. But I feel there is still something I can do for my country,” Wetherell said.
Army veteran Bill Dixon was another veteran among the many attending.
“These are my brothers. It’s like a reunion and it’s a real blessing to be here today with all those who served our country,” Dixon said.
The gathering was a celebration for all the vets.
“When we came back from Viet Nam, it wasn’t a happy time for veterans. We didn’t share our experiences or discuss what we had been through,” former Navy Electronics Technician Jeff Jordan said. Jordan served on the Guided Missle Cruiser USS Horne during Viet Nam.
“The first time I was thanked for serving, I didn’t know how to respond. The people here in Waxahachie do a great job of showing their appreciation to all veterans. That’s why we live here,” Jordan said.
As the bus was loading to take the veterans to their parade floats, Jordan’s wife, Leslie, also an Army veteran stood up and said “Jeff, it’s time to go.”
His response was, Well I better listen, she out ranked me. She was a first lieutenant.
Both Jordans, Wetherell, and the many other veterans departed the church to join the many more who filled several of the fourth of July veteran parade floats.