Several times per year, local patriots Donna and Glenn Evans and Jon Self host a free veterans breakfast for area veterans and their guests. On Nov. 13, 2019, American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford was the featured speaker. Oxford is a Vietnam Marine veteran and told the 200 guests about his bad experiences upon returning home from Vietnam. He said one of his goals in life was to see that no veteran would ever again be mistreated like the Vietnam veterans were. In attendance were several World War II and Korean War veterans as well as Vietnam and Gulf War veterans.
Oxford talked about the mission of The American Legion and said it is just as important as it was at the founding of the Legion 100 years ago this year. He presented certificates of appreciation to Donna, Glenn and Jon for their outstanding service to veterans and their community.
Donna said that when they decided to hold a luncheon for local World War II veterans back in 2013 they had six veterans in attendance. (see attached photo). American Legion Post 457 in Sunbury was asked to assist in the activities and help promote the event.
Later they decided to add local veterans from other wars, and it wasn’t long until they had “outgrown” the meeting room at Sunbury’s P.J.’s Restaurant. They continued to have a veterans lunch several times per year but it was moved to the Big Walnut Grill in Sunbury which is owned by Jon, a Vietnam War veteran and member of Post 457.
As the attendance increased the event “outgrew” their meeting room and was creating some problems with their normal lunch business. Since the Big Walnut Grill is a lunch- and dinner-only restaurant, Jon and Donna changed the event into a breakfast, and now they have the entire dining and meeting room to accommodate these events.
Roger Friend, Department of Ohio American Legion commander, told those in attendance that he was very humbled and honored to be able to serve the American Legion members of Ohio, and all veterans. He thanked Oxford for taking his valuable time to attend today’s event, and assured him that Ohio Legionnaires would support his efforts to continue to improve the lives of America’s veterans and their families.