East Texas Vets Concerned About Lack Of Support - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/30/05 - Lufkin

East Texas Vets Concerned About Lack Of Support

by Larry Little

Veterans' Day is just about two weeks away but, next Sunday, veterans will be honored in what's become an annual parade in downtown Lufkin. However, it's the lack of honor and participation that concerns them.

Retired Master Sgt. Wayne Youngblood served 20 years in the Air Force.

"It was an enjoyable experience. I had some rough assignments, some good, some bad. All military men can tell you that," says Youngblood.

Today, Youngblood continues to serve communities in East Texas as a member of the Disabled American Veterans.

"[At] this chapter, we really have an active civic program for benevolence. We help a lot of people in Angelina County."

Now, these veterans are asking for the community's help to put on a parade next Sunday to honor all veterans, but they're not getting the response they need.

"We spend a lot of time, effort, and money helping this community, and when we ask for a little help putting on a parade, we get snubbed a little. It kind of hurts our feelings a little bit," says Youngblood.

"It's been like pulling teeth. We've begged media, [and] businesses. We've mailed letters to every church in Lufkin, asking for participation, just simply by coming to watch it. It seems like everyone slams the door in our face," says veteran Teresa Johniken.

Folks at the D.A.V. say veterans, past and present, are the backbone of our country and, because of those veterans, Old Glory waves proudly in East Texas. They would like to see more folks participate and show patriotism by attending the Lufkin parade on November 6th.

"I would like to see downtown like when it is the rodeo and Christmas parade. Everyone is there [for those parades]. I'm not saying we are more important than Christmas, but as important, and more important than the rodeo," says Johniken.

Folks with the Disabled American Veterans want all churches and other organizations to contact them and participate in the upcoming parade. They say it's the least we can do. After all, we are honoring men and women who risked their lives, and some who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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