One of the first official events at the 2019 Crawford County Fair will be the lunch for veterans that is served as part of Veterans Appreciation Day at the fair.
“It’s for any veteran of any age from any county,” said Louise Galbraith, Crawford County Veterans Affairs (VA) service officer. “We feed everybody. Space is limited for seating, but if you bring your parent or spouse, go ahead and eat with them.”
The lunch takes place in the Morton building immediately following the flag raising ceremony at noon on Wednesday, July 24.
Many agencies that assist veterans will be on hand for those in need of services.
Representatives of Brushy Creek Honor Flight will attend.
“That is always something a lot of people want information about,” Galbraith said.
The veterans outreach coordinators for Iowa Workforce Development and Smithfield Foods will also be there.
“Smithfield looks to hire veterans,” Galbraith said. “They will have an information table with employment opportunities.”
Representatives of the Omaha VA Medical Center and Veterans Center will attend to answer eligibility, enrollment, hospital or mental health services questions.
Crawford County Memorial Hospital and Angels Care Home Health will also have representatives on hand.
Galbraith and Donna Childress, administrative assistant, will represent the Crawford County VA office.
“All in all we’ll have 10 to 15 different agencies and vendors with a variety of information at the lunch,” Galbraith said. “We’ll have resources for young veterans to retired veterans.”
She will have maps and information about the county bridges that have been named in honor of Crawford County residents killed in action serving the country.
Lunch will be served until the food is gone, which is usually by 3 p.m., she said.
The food ran out at 2 p.m. last year.
“If you want lunch, come at lunch time,” Galbraith said.
Bottled water will be provided.
The VA office will be selling t-shirts as a fundraiser. The shirt design includes the outline of Iowa and the emblems of every service branch.
The money raised will go toward making signs for next year’s bridge dedications.
A shuttle service from the parking lot will be available.
“We have shuttles going through the parking lot and bringing people into the building, so nobody has to walk in the heat,” she said. “I don’t want elderly people walking in the parking lot because it can be very rutty. I don’t want them falling or having to walk a long distance.”
Members of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors will drive Gator vehicles for the shuttle service, she said.
“Van Wall Equipment loans us Gators and a couple of the supervisors bring theirs in,” she said. “They have a really good time buzzing around picking people up.”
The shuttles aren’t just for veterans, she noted.
“They pick up anybody that wants a ride,” Galbraith said.
2019 is the fourth year of the Veterans Day at the Fair event.
Galbraith and Crawford County Auditor Terri Martens organized the event.
Galbraith said staffing a VA booth at the fair never worked very well because she saw very few new veterans in that situation.
“We kicked around this idea and the fair board loved it,” she said. “I think it has been great for the fair and it’s been great for outreach in our office.”
Fair attendance has been up on the first day because of the event, she said.
“I get more contacts done in one day than I did in a whole week sitting in the booth,” Galbraith said. “Depending on the weather, we can have several hundred veterans.”
She reiterated that the event is for veterans from other counties, as well.
All of the Crawford County offices have helped make the event successful, she said.
“We’re very fortunate that we have the support of our county offices,” Galbraith. “We just want the veterans to come and have a good day and hopefully it won’t be too hot.”