The Ford Motor Company has deep roots when it comes to supporting military veterans and Moore County’s Ford dealers are honoring this commitment by sponsoring two major ‘Vet Fest’ events this week.
Cooper Ford in Carthage is the title sponsor for the Veterans Benefit Concert on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. at Robert E. Lee Auditorium at Pinecrest High School. Featuring guest artists The Kruger Brothers, a new American folk trio, the concert is typically the headline event of the weeklong Sandhills Veterans Festival and its greatest fundraising engine.
Tickets for the Veterans Benefit Concert featuring The Kruger Brothers can be purchased online. General admission ticket is $20 and $30 for reserved seating, visit eventbrite.com
Then on Saturday, Nov. 11, Crossroads Ford Lincoln of Southern Pines is a Platinum level sponsor of the Southern Pines Veterans Parade, which will kick-off at 10 a.m. in downtown Southern Pines. Crossroads Ford is joined by the nonprofit organization, Children of Fallen Heroes, as key donors for the event, which is also co-sponsored by the town of Southern Pines.
The Southern Pines Veterans Parade will feature music, military vehicles, fire trucks, ROTC participants, scouting organizations, antique cars, a vintage military aircraft flyover by The Bandit Flight Team, and many local veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces since World War II. The parade will proceed rain or shine on Broad Street in downtown Southern Pines.
“The Ford dealers in Moore County have really stepped up,” said parade co-organizer Rick Herrera. “People always ask, ‘How much does it cost to put on a parade?’ I tell them it is a lot more than you think.”
Expenses include paying for extra-duty law enforcement to close-off roads, insurance, fuel reimbursement, golf cart rentals, magnetic signs and marketing materials, photography, sound and audio equipment, entertainment, food and beverages for volunteers, plus website costs and many other incidentals throughout the yearlong planning process.
This is the fifth consecutive year that Crossroads has supported the parade, donating $10,000 to the Sandhills Veterans Festival.
“It has been wonderful. We can absolutely count on them to ensure that this parade happens,” Herrera said. “When Crossroads came to town, it was truly a shift in the force. You could feel it. Then when (General Manager) Mack Parrish came on board, he is such a phenomenal person. He has a great team there. Everyone who works at Crossroads is family.”
A big part of what makes the Southern Pines Veterans Parade special, organizers say, is making sure each participant receives a small token of recognition. This may be an individual car sign or some other kind of memento that is handed out.
“We’ve had families tell us how much it means to these veterans to get the sign or maybe a coin, something they receive at the parade. Every year we have about 20 percent in cost increases to make this all happen and Crossroads has been a part of this since the beginning,” Herrera said.
For the Veterans Benefit Concert featuring The Kruger Brothers, Herrera said a major sponsor fell through and the decision was made to call Cooper Ford.
“They took a last minute meeting and they saved the day, literally saved the day,” he said. “Cooper Ford made sure we could hold the concert. This event is what raises money for the Veterans Support Fund, it is the real moneymaker for this fund.”
“It shows how tremendous these men are. They have truly stepped up,” he added. “To have this kind of community commitment, that sense of esprit de corps with your community is a magnificent thing. It really is.”
The Sandhills Veterans Festival began in 2012 with a small band of veterans. Each year a few very dedicated men and women coordinate a series of events they describe as “put on by veterans for veterans.”
“Our mission statement is support our troops, honor our veterans,” said parade co-organizer Susan