Content Provided By: Knights of Columbus Council 7091.
Winter Haven - The Frank J. Durbin Fourth Degree Assembly 2608 and Knights of Columbus Council 7091 of Cypress Gardens teamed up to recognize current and retired members of the U.S. military with a dinner in their honor at Cypresswood Golf & Country Club in Winter Haven.
This First Annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner on Saturday, November 3 attracted an estimated 80 men and women, many of whom served the United States in wartime and peacetime as members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The function, which was free of charge to veterans and their spouses, was held on Saturday, November 3.
The event featured a delicious buffet dinner prepared by Brooke Paul and the staff of Southern Legacy Tap & Grille; the Presentation of the Colors by an Honor Guard from the award-winning Marine Corps Junior ROTC at Lake Region High School; a Missing Warrior Table exhibit narrated by Steve Hilbmann, a knight and director of the local unit of the Military Order of the Purple Heart; and the presentation of laminated stars created from a retired American flag to each veteran. The stars, created by Irene Schiefer of Ohio, were handed to the veterans as they entered the banquet room by Schiefer’s brother-in-law Steve Siesel, a past grand knight and military veteran.
The function also included special recognition of Alvin Lewis, a 94-year-old World War II vet, who resides in Cypresswood; the blessing of the food by Phil Pierpont, a deacon of the Catholic faith and past grand knight; the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America by the entire assembly led by Ken Nelson, also a past grand knight; and drawings for door prizes, including five free haircuts donated by the SportsCuts barbershop, four bottles of wine and two 18-hole rounds of golf courtesy of Cypresswood golf pro Bob Schade and K of C Council 7091.
The event was chaired by Phil Pierpont, with assistance from Assembly 2608 Faithful Navigator Jerry Melnitzke, Council 7091 Grand Knight James Sharak and knights Ken Nelson, Steve Hilbmann, Ruben Sanabria, Sal Porta, and Bob Bigg.
The sponsors thank St. Anne Catholic Church in Haines City, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Winter Haven, the Military Order of the Purple Heart and other local veterans groups, as well as the Cypresswood, Traditions and Cypress Landings communities for their assistance in promoting the event.
Named in honor of the late World War I hero, Frank J. Durbin, the Assembly is the patriotic/ceremonial arm of Knights of Columbus Council 7091, a charitable organization serving primarily eastern Polk County.