Lt. Col. Gregory Gibbons, commander of the Hawthorne Army Depot, would give a very personal speech about his assignment to the depot. The new commander took time to thank “America’s Patriotic Home” for welcoming his family. Here in Mineral County, the Gibbons family has been to a rodeo; ghost towns; Ichthyosaurus Park; the Pinenut Festival; Mt. Grant Challenge; mud pulls and went on to say, “Did you see our football team run up to 80 or 90 points in its last game of the season?”
He asked why do our veterans risk so much? Not for a congressman or senator; San Francisco or another great city in America; not for D.C. or the President.
He answered, “Veterans risked all for your family, your friends, for the guy next to you in combat, it was to defend you way of life at home. It was for Hawthorne! That is why I signed up, for Hawthorne or more specifically for towns like Hawthorne. There are 100’s if not 1000’s of towns across America just like Hawthorne. Towns like Hawthorne with: rodeos; mud drags; off road races; high school football games and it was for the wild life and beauty of Mt. Grant that watches over us today. Towns that stand up proudly and say, “We are America’s Patriotic Home.”
Lt. Col Gibbons would state that we need to support our veterans and encourage our youth to continue to strive for what America stands for.
Steve McBride of Hawthorne Elks Lodge 1704 would follow Gibbons speech, talking about the Elks long lasting tradition of supporting the veterans by building hospital’s for those veterans in need, the first in Boston in 1917, when the Elks Foundation was a mere 49 years old. Today on the home front, the Elk’s Lodge continues to support those who serve.
“The Order of Elks formed a hides committee in 1948 and it is still in operation. Tens of thousands of hides are collected by members of the Elks throughout the country and the hides are transformed into fingerless gloves embossed with our logo and given to our wheelchair bound vets.” McBride informed those who gathered.
He would go on to say, “So long as there are veterans, the BPOE will never forget them.”
Under the waving red, white and blue, Mineral County veterans were honored. Some in person, some in thought and some encouraged – to join a select few that can call themselves, a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine.