Starting off with a customary joke from a World War II veteran is not typically how most meetings begin. But for this organization, it is.
A new senior veteran nonprofit stood up this month and is looking for veterans and volunteers. Honored Legacies for Veterans was created by former Forever Young Senior Veterans in Alabama coordinators Chris Batte and Elaine Oakes. They saw a need in the community to expand beyond Forever Young’s primary mission of honoring senior veterans by returning them to the places they fought. The new organization will provide more close-to-home activities and an educational component to their outreach.
Honored Legacies’ mission is to honor senior veterans and guard their legacies for future generations. The organization will provide learning tools to local schools through member visits, an “adopt a vet” program and by recording stories of service. Its veterans will serve as primary resources for the students, according to Batte, and give firsthand accounts of the wars in which they served.
“What can they get out of a book better than someone who was there?” Batte said.
Honored Legacies will also sponsor social outings for its members. The group has local trips scheduled to see the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra in Decatur Feb. 7 and will attend the Gala in the Garden Feb. 21, hosted by the Redstone Arsenal Military and Civilians Club. They also aim to schedule a trip to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans in the spring and Washington, D.C., in the fall. Excursion and trip costs for veteran members 65 and older will be paid for by the organization.
Board members include Batte, Oakes and Larry Vannoy. The group’s advisory committee includes Ronnie Chronister, Bob Gordon, Beverly Lowe, John Perry, Roberta Rodgers, Teresa Smith and Lisa Williams.
Batte said they were looking for people with a heart for veterans to join their mission. There is no restriction on membership and no cost to join.
“This is what this town does,” she said. “We work together to support each other.”
For more information on Honored Legacies for Veterans, visit the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/honoredlegacies/ or email Batte at firstname.lastname@example.org and Oakes at email@example.com. The group’s next meeting is Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Dynetics, 1004 Explorer Boulevard, Huntsville.