The Atascadero Elks Lodge held a Veterans Recognition Dinner Friday night. About 200 people attended the dinner including Veterans, their families, Elks, and members of the community.
Exalted Ruler Susan Marple welcomed the group to Elks Lodge #2733. Elks Chaplain Nick Miller presented the Invocation. Three members of the Morro Bay Coast Guard served as Color Guard. Later, the men described their experiences in that branch of the service. One Petty Officer described rescuing a shrimp boat in 30-foot waves near the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. Another shared his experiences intercepting drug runners off the coast of Colombia. He also served in the Black Sea, training Ukrainian sailors immediately before the invasion of Ukraine by the Russians.
Mike Minty led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. David McNamara played Taps.
Cynthia Picket-Mitchell and Jasmine Pickett performed the national anthem. The mother and daughter harmony filled the room with their voices without a microphone. Jasmine Pickett previously competed in the long jump and triple jump at Cal Poly. In 2010, Jasmine was the Big West Conference champion in the Triple Jump.
After dinner provided by the Elks Lodge, Rod Dykhouse of Estrella Warbirds spoke to the group about his experiences flying 1000 combat hours in Viet Nam. He talked about a harrowing experience flying into a dangerous combat zone during which a guardian angel spoke to him and protected his safety.
After Dykhouse spoke, Veterans in attendance each shared their experiences in the Armed Forces. They identified the branch in which they served, and what they did in the military.
Then Cynthia Pickett-Mitchell and Jasmine Pickett led the group in “Gold Bless America.”
The Annual Recognition Dinner ended with a Benediction by Nick Miller, and some kind works by Exalted Ruler, Susan Marple.