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Vo-tech hosts holiday brunch for veterans

Tribune-Democrat - 12/8/2018

Dec. 08--Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center made the holiday season a little brighter for area veterans.

In recognition of the men and women who served in the military, GJCTC held its fourth annual holiday brunch on Friday at the school in Richland Township.

"We do this event every year to honor veterans in our community for their sacrifice and as a way to say thank you," said Tricia Rummel, supervisor of adult education at GJCTC. "The staff gets together and, instead of having a gift exchange among each other, we pool our resources, along with financial support from the community, and we use that money to fund this event every year."

The brunch typically attracts between 150 to 175 veterans each year.

"Every year, we have a nice turnout," Rummel said. "The vets look forward to it. We start getting calls in October because they're so excited to make sure they get a seat."

Veterans were treated to meals prepared by students in the GJCTC culinary art program.

"It's a combination of staff and students working together, and our high school students really step up to prepare food for 200 people," Rummel said.

In addition, the program recognized GJCTC staff, adult students and high school students who have served, are currently serving or will be enlisting in the U.S. armed forces. Each person was presented with a certificate.

Vietnam War Navy veteran Ron Richards said he's been attending the brunch since its inception.

"I think this is a tremendous; it's a pleasure for the veterans to be able to come out and enjoy their time," the Salix resident said. "It's hard for veterans to get together, and this brings everybody together to talk about their service and things in their life."

He said everyone appreciates the effort GJCTC puts into the brunch to make it a welcoming event.

"We enjoy it, and it's great camaraderie," Richards said. "We have the Korean War veterans, World War II veterans and Vietnam War veterans, and now some of the newer veterans are coming in, the younger guys, and we're getting a little bit of their experience, and they're getting a little bit of ours."

Ernie Wilson, of Beaverdale, said the organizers put on a good program.

"The people really treat us well, and you couldn't ask for anything better," the Vietnam War Navy veteran said. "There's a lot of different veterans here, and I like being with all the guys. This is something I look forward to each year."

As part of the program, attendees were asked to bring a nonperishable food item to be donated to the 876th Engineer, 128th A Co. and 121st Transportation.

"We want to also give back to the community," Rummel said. "The food will benefit local veterans and their families who may be in need during the holiday season."

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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(c)2018 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)

Visit The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.) at www.tribune-democrat.com

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