LIMA — Jackie Wilson's son graduated from Tiffin University in 2004 and two months later was deployed with the Army National Guard to Iraq for 14 months.When he came home, he lived with her for three months, and she gained a great appreciation of what the modern U.S. service member and veteran faces.It lead Wilson, of Lima, to self-publish a book, “Iraq, Their Mission, Our Journey.” Then, it led her to orchestrate a veterans appreciation event Saturday at Memorial Hall.“God gave me a vision, a time to bring the community and veterans together,” Wilson said. “I wanted to give them the honor due to them, especially a tribute to Iraq veterans.”The event included food and toiletries available from the Veterans Food Pantry and a meal for veterans and a silent auction fundraiser for the pantry. Community services and information, such as admissions information from Rhodes State, were also available. Lima schools Master Works Choir and Liberty Arts Magnet Choir performed and Vietnam War veteran and Veterans Memorial Civic Center board member Jeff Tracy spoke.Tracy said he was proud of his service but not treated well after his military time and couldn't quite get rid of a chip on his shoulder until he shared a long plane ride with a young soldier returning home. The two talked for hours, but never gave each other their names.“Just remember that every single soldier is somebody's somebody,” Tracy said. “There's not enough we can do to help the young men and women after their service.”In her book, Wilson writes that “old men start wars, but young men fight wars.”At the event Saturday, she reminded the crowd of the sacrifice service members make.“Our members of the military write a blank check to the United States,” Wilson said.
Woman organizes veterans appreciation event