Troops honored the Carson way

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal

Northern Nevadans turned out in droves to honor past and present military personnel on Armed Forces Day, lining Stewart Street, snapping digital photos, waving flags and saluting back during a parade followed by entertainment at Mills Park.

The celebration was underscored by the effort of Carson City resident Carol Howell to give aid to those who've served and been wounded.

Though she has no familial ties to the military, Howell felt it was her "duty" to "recognize the people who've given so much - especially in this current (war)."

Howell and a group of volunteers, in conjunction with Operation First Response, eventually settled on giving 50 gift bags to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for Christmas.

But there seemed to be more to do.

"The more we got involved, the more we learned (about Operation First Response) and how they help the lives of those who've been wounded or are disabled - the more we wanted to do," she said.Howell and about a half-dozen "core" volunteers then spent the next nine months planning Saturday's events.

And if comments from those who turned out on a warm spring day was any indication, this won't be the last such affair.

"I'd like to shake that woman's hand for putting this together," said retired Marine and 46-year Carson resident Bing Blood. "It's about time someone did something like this.

"What you see here - Americans are patriotic. More than ever. More than you guys report. You should print that."

Blood's comments were reinforced by a quick interaction he shared with retired Marine and Carson City resident Mo Devereaux and a pair of young Marines, clad in full dress.

"It's great to talk to the (young) Marines," Devereaux said. "I'll let you in on something - these guys are well-trained; maybe the best ever.

"Some of them are on their third (or) fourth tour of Iraq. They fight with discipline and honor. They exemplify everything it is to be a Marine. I have nothing but respect for these guys."

Each branch of the military was represented in Mills Park, displaying Humvees and war planes, delighting young and old.

"I got to get (on) that car, there and there - and that airplane over there... and talk to that soldier there," said an enthused Max Hambright, furiously pointing around the park's green machines. "I think this is something I like."

Non-military community groups and sponsors present at Mills Park seemed to embrace the day's theme.

Bob McCulloch of the Ormsby Sportsman's Association noted that his group, which he said was the largest and oldest hunting conservation group in the state, has long been a supporter of men and women in uniform.

"We've got young and old, but I'd say we have a lot of people who've served.

"This is just a good event; well-organized... I hope this is the start of something."

The event continues with fundraisers today including a fashion show from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Carson Nugget.

The weekend's events will conclude with a golf and dinner fundraiser at the Dayton Valley Golf & Country Club in the afternoon.

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