Civic clubs join forces to honor Armed Forces

Veterans to be toasted Monday; Kopecky named as speaker

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
Over the past several years, the Hope Kiwanis, Hope Lions, Evening Lions, Hope Rotary, and Hope Civitan Clubs have all teamed up to honor the region’s veterans with a special luncheon at Hempstead Hall, Salute to American Veterans; this year’s event will be happening again on Monday, this year’s observance of Veteran’s Day, starting at 11:00 a.m.
In the past three years, the midday ceremony has drawn crowds in excess of 200 to Hempstead Hall and has featured the Hope Lions Club performing the Star Spangled Banner as well as a playing of the theme songs of the various branches of the military, including the US Marines and US Air Force as well as US Army, US Navy, and US Coast Guard.
Again coordinated by Bob Willis of the Hope Kiwanis Club, this year’s scheduled Keynote speaker is a familiar face, Retired Col. Jay Kopecky, who is both a Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran.
During his service, Kopecky received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2nd award) and numerous other awards.
Kopecky was a 38-year veteran with service in both regular army and army reserve. He was wounded by a car bomb during a TAJI-Baghdad convoy mission in Iraq Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
Past keynotes have been delivered by a diverse range of speakers over the years from Linda Parker of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to the legendary Arkadelphia football coach George Baker.
Although the traditional Veterans Day date, November 11, falls on Sunday this year, much of the nation will observe Veterans Day on Monday with communities like Hope and Prescott as well as across the county, hosting various breakfasts, luncheons, and salutes.

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