November 2, 2012

OUR VIEW: Gala a great way to show support

— The Cass County Roosters are hosting their fifth annual Salute to the Armed Forces Gala in honor of those who received the Purple Heart during their service.

The event, scheduled for Saturday at Angie’s Catering and Cakes, will have food, drinks and a band, Tuxedo Junction, followed by a silent auction. The doors open at 5 p.m. Saturday, and the program starts at 7 p.m. 

The event in its first four years has benefited a number of veterans-related causes, including scholarships honoring Shawn Hensel and Kenneth McAninch, the two Cass County soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Money from the event has also gone toward restoration of the World War II Roll of Honor outside the City Building and the Civil War Memorial at Mount Hope Cemetery.

The Roosters say the annual gala has raised from $20,000 to $43,000 each year, and this year’s proceeds will be divided between two causes, the Heroes Among Us program that seeks to take veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the war memorials and a plan to create a park honoring veterans complete with a limestone statue honoring each branch of the military.

The gala has become a great tradition, and each program has featured emotional moments as residents pay tribute to the men and women who have laid down their lives in service to their country. This year’s event will be no exception as the Roosters honor recipients of the Purple Heart.

Sen. Randy Head will be the keynote speaker, outlining the history of the Purple Heart. All Purple Heart recipients will be admitted free.

The program will honor veterans such as Bob Powell, who received two Purple Hearts while serving in the infantry during World War II. Powell, a retired Logansport Police Department officer, suffered his battle wound when he was 18. He was on Omaha Beach five days after D-Day when a bullet entered his arm and came out through his chest. He turned just in time, he said, to avoid a gunshot to the heart.

The chance to honor veterans such as Powell, who just turned 87, is worth the cost of admission, but the event will also give local residents a chance to support some great causes. 

We can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday evening.