More than 80 World War II veterans met for lunch and camaraderie Tuesday at TREA in Rapid City. The event, organized by Bill Casper and with the help of 35 volunteers, is in its fifth year.
“They don’t come for a hamburger,” Casper said of the veterans. “They come for the camaraderie. For a lot of them, they don’t get to see each other often.”
Gen. Marshall Michel, South Dakota Army National Guard chief of staff, spoke before a picnic-style lunch was served.
“You’re an inspiration for all of us to follow,” he said.
Marcella LeBeau, 98, of Eagle Butte, served in the Army Nurse Corps from 1942 to 1946, where she tended the wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.
Her favorite part of the luncheon was seeing others who had served in the war — those from “what they call the ‘Greatest Generation’ for their service to America,” she said.
Following the meal, the Potter Family performed a USO-style musical program.
Veterans and their families traveled from throughout the region to attend to luncheon, Casper said.
“It’s a real honor to serve (them),” he said. “A real honor.”