FOLLANSBEE - Leaders of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce say it's important to thank military veterans for their service, and what better way than to treat them to dinner?
With the help of Vito's 2, the chamber will offer a free dinner to Follansbee area veterans from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 28 at the restaurant.
"(Vito's 2 owner) Skip Cutrone has graciously agreed to provide the buffet dinner," said Chamber President Tony Paesano, who added the chamber is accepting contributions for other costs involved with the event.
VETERANS DINNER PLANNED. Members of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce gathered this week to make plans for a dinner honoring Follansbee area veterans. On hand were, front, from left, Pat Accettolo, Jean Bartholow, Carmel Esposito and Chamber President Tony Paesano; and back, Loraine Durante, Danielle Sharot, Christopher McBee and Eric Fithyan. -- Warren Scott
There are plans to present T-shirts and small gifts to all veterans attending the Veterans Appreciation Dinner, which is open to past and present service members living in Follansbee, Hooverson Heights and Colliers and the spouses of deceased veterans. Each veteran may bring a guest, who also will eat for free.
Paesano said the chamber would like to invite more but wouldn't be able to accommodate the hundreds of veterans who live in Brooke County and throughout the Ohio Valley.
The restaurant has a seating capacity of about 180.
Paesano said an exception will be made for members of the Ohio Valley Veterans Memorial Squad.
Based at the Follansbee American Legion Post, the group includes former veterans on both sides of the Ohio River and has been a regular participant in Memorial Day and Veterans Day services held in the city as well as providing military honors at the funerals of hundreds of area veterans.
Paesano said it's important to recognize the sacrifices made by all veterans.
"Freedom is not free. They paid the price when they put the uniform on," he said.
Paesano said Follansbee Council will be asked to declare the day Veterans Appreciation Day, and local businesses will be invited to display Support Our Troops signs.
Businesses and others may send donations to the Follansbee WesBanco, c/o Charlotte Kolenc, 944 Main St., Follansbee, WV 26037.
Chamber members also heard of efforts by fellow member Eric Fithyan to organize a walking tour of local businesses. Fithyan said the event could include local churches and he's targeting a Saturday afternoon in June for the event.
Members discussed the possibility of offering transportation for those who are unable to walk long distances.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)