LIMA — With Veterans Day coming up Monday, many organizations, schools and businesses in the region plan to honor local veterans and active service personnel for their commitment to safeguarding this nation.
Two area schools will hold assemblies today, both open to the public. Lima’s Temple Christian School is inviting area veterans to the sanctuary at Lima Baptist Temple from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m., as students honor the military with songs from elementary students and the high school choir and poetry readings. Superintendent Dr. Dewitt Powell will offer a short message.
“These veterans helped give us the freedoms that we have,” Temple Christian administrative assistant Jodi Callahan said. “We can’t thank them enough.”
Wapakoneta Middle School will be hosting almost 200 veterans during an assembly in the gymnasium from 1 to 3 p.m. today. There will be songs from several school choirs, as well as an address from Fr. David Ross, of Lima.
“It’s a huge community thing,” math teacher Joni Wade said. “Everyone jumps on board, and it’s a great experience learning about history and respect for veterans. They have provided the means for us to have a free life.”
Other events in the area include:
•American Legion Post 96, 711 S. Shore Dr., Lima, will present its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at 10:55 a.m. Monday, with guest speaker Lt. Col. Matthew Hodge from the Joint System Manufacturing Center.
•Heritage Elementary School, 816 College Ave., Lima, will host a Veterans Day program at 9 a.m. Monday, with students singing patriotic songs and reading poems. A representative from the Veterans of Foreign Wars will speak during the event.
•Kaleidoscope Farms, 14841 county Road 54, Mt. Cory, will participate in Operation Evergreen on Sunday. About 100 Christmas trees will be cut down and sent, complete with handmade ornaments, to soldiers stationed overseas.
•Ohio Northern University’s James F. Dicke Hall, 525 S. Main St., will have a wreath-laying ceremony at the Henry Soloman Lehr statue at 11 a.m. Monday, with reflections by guest speaker Paul Hortman, who served in the Air Force for 20 years before retiring as a major in 2007.
• St. Marys Rotary Club will host a Veterans Day program at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the St. Marys Eagles Club, featuring speaker Col. Arthur F. Huber II, acting director of the Aerospace Systems Directorate from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
•Westside United Methodist Church, 604 Gloria Ave., Lima, will feature speaker Rodger McDonald, Chief Warrant Officer in the Ohio National Guard, during its 10:30 a.m. worship service Sunday.
Several area restaurants and businesses are also planning on honoring those who served Monday as well, with several offering free meals or services to customers showing military identification.
“We’ll be giving out free meals to all veterans and active duty service members on Monday,” said Larry Byers, general manager of the Applebees on Roschman Avenue. “Last year, we gave out almost $6,000 in free meals just at this location.”
Other area businesses participating in specials for veterans include:
•Bob Evans, 1530 N. Cable Road and 1810 Harding Highway, Lima, offers free hotcakes during business hours.
•Golden Corral, 2620 Elida Road, Lima, offers a free meal from 4 to 9 p.m.
•Great Clips, 771 Lost Creek Blvd. and 2230 Elida Road, Lima, offers a free haircut during business hours.
•Little Caesars, 216 Calumet Ave., Lima, offers free crazy bread during business hours.
•Olive Garden, 1936 Roschman Ave., Lima, offers a free meal from a limited menu during business hours.
•Panera Bread, 2330 Elida Road and 1830 Harding Highway, Lima, offers a free You-Pick-Two meal during business hours.
•Red Lobster, 2150 Harding Highway, Lima, offers a free appetizer during business hours.
•Starbucks at St. Rita’s Medical Center, 730 W. Market St., offers a free tall brewed coffee during business hours.
•Texas Roadhouse, 1940 Roschman Ave., Lima, offers a free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s a great thing to give back,” Byers said.