MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. --
Many organizations host events to honor current and former service members for their service. The local community of Morehead City, N.C., participated in the recognition June 2, sponsoring a day of fishing, free food, various activities and music for anyone who serves or served in the military and their families.
The seventh annual Military Appreciation Day, hosted by the Morehead City community, is coordinated and ran fully by volunteers. More than 100 boats were donated for the occasion, offering the opportunity to take a free ride around Atlantic Beach, and for a day of fishing.
“This event requires the volunteers to do a lot of preparation months ahead of time,” said John Laughry, a volunteer who participated in MAD for the last few years. “We do everything from getting volunteers to cook the food, finding people to donate boats to take people for rides, and arranging bands and recreational activities for the children.”
The event lasted all day, providing fun for all ages. People who got to the event early were able to sign up for fishing out on a boat through the duration of the festivities. Others fished off the edge of the docks and were able to catch various types of fish that strayed too close to shore. Two popular choices among the smaller children were a bouncy house and a dunk tank.
“The goal of an event like this is just to show appreciation to people who chose to defend our country,” said Laughry. “We like to hold an all-day event where they can bring their whole family to enjoy themselves. We just want them to know we are grateful for everything they did or are still doing.”
The event concluded with a pig roast and a chicken dinner as a way of thanking the service members one last time before the day ended.
“There are other smaller events in the area, but this is the one big day we put on every year for the group who is in this area,” said Laughry.
John Poloskey, one of the main coordinators for the yearly event, said one of the biggest issues they face is people signing up and not attending.
“When we plan for a certain number of people to show up and a fraction of them don’t, it makes things harder on the volunteers,” he said. “We understand people sometimes have something come up last minute, whether it be work or family related, but we would appreciate a heads-up either by phone call or on our website.”
The MAD group sponsors other events throughout the year to show their gratitude to those who serve.
For more information on events, visit www.militaryappreciationday.org/phpBB3/home.php.