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Local Veterans Gather For Free Breakfast

Local veterans stand together at Bellaire VFW Post 626 after being served a free breakfast in honor of their service and as part of Independence Day celebrations.

BELLAIRE — Local veterans gathered Saturday morning for a free breakfast in honor of their service amid the festivities of Independence Day weekend.

The Bellaire Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 626 served up a meal of eggs, sausage, hash browns and beverages as a way to thank veterans of military service in the area during the national celebration of the country’s birth. About 30 local veterans attended the event, the first breakfast the VFW has held since Tom Cottello took on the role of commander three years ago, he said.

“Everything turned out pretty good for our first one,” Cottello said. “I appreciate all the veterans who came up here.”

The post, located at 3154 Belmont St., plans to host more breakfasts in the future as a way to say “thank you” to residents who served in the military, Cottello said.

“We just wanted to do this for the veterans,” he said.

The event also provided a time to reflect on what Independence Day means for veterans.

“For me it brings back memories back when I was in Vietnam when we’d celebrate the Fourth of July over there,” VFW member Steve Kurko said. “But we celebrated a little bit differently.”

Member Frank Ferrel said the event and the holiday provide a time for all veterans to come together and embrace what they have in common.

“It’s a time for all veterans to meet,” Kurko said. “There’s no complaining, there’s no aches and pains when we all get together because the reality of it is we got exactly what we asked for. None of us had to serve our country. If people were drafted, they could’ve went to Canada.

“People didn’t have to enlist, so that’s why we don’t have complaints,” he continued. “You can’t say you had it bad, you had it this way, you got everything that you asked for. And I think more people ought to understand that, whether it’s a career and educational pursuit or joining the military.”

Cottello thanked the post’s auxiliary members for help in putting on the breakfast.

“We have a lot of the auxiliary people here who helped out a lot. I appreciate that,” he said. “We’re here to take care of our veterans. I think everybody who came today enjoyed themselves.”

The local VFW is involved in other efforts to help veterans. Members will sometimes visit local nursing homes to give veterans there hats and T-shirts or serve them a special meal, Cottello said previously.

The organization also gives scholarships to local students, helps veterans in need and has covered costs for equipment for the Bellaire Police Department.

In addition, the Bellaire VFW’s auxiliary holds an annual craft fair with proceeds going toward the VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. The home provides housing, food and schooling for veterans’ families for up to two years.

The money from the craft fair also benefits a cancer fund that gives an auxiliary member in need $500 twice during their lifetime if they have cancer. The money can be used toward treatment or other related expenses.

“It’s a nice thing for all veterans to get together and do something like this,” member Joe Picetti said of the breakfast.

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