PHOTO STORY: Cass County COA honors area veterans

Published 2:48 pm Thursday, November 11, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — Two local organizations partnered Thursday to celebrate Veterans Day by providing a free meal and a “thank you” to area veterans.

The Cass County Council on Aging hosted its annual Veterans Day Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at both its Cassopolis Lowe Center, 60525 Decatur Road, Cassopolis, and its Dowagiac Front Street Crossing, 227 S. Front St., Dowagiac, locations. For the event, the COA partnered with Starks Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, which sponsored free meals for veterans and their spouses.

Prior to the meal, the Cassopolis Veterans of Foreign Wars hosted a flag pole ceremony at the Lowe Center.

Kelli Casey, COA director of community development, said the event was a way for the organization to say “thank you” to veterans for the sacrifices they have made for the public.

‘’I think it is nice for the COA to offer our local veterans a free meal in support of the service they have paid to our country and just let them know how much we appreciate their sacrifice,” she said.

Of the veterans who attended Thursday’s event, two were World War II veterans, William Hassinger and George Tabbert. According to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, fewer than 240,329 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive today.

Hassinger, 98, of Niles and formerly of Dowagiac, said it made him feel good to see community organizations like the COA celebrate Veterans Day.

“It means a lot,” he said. “[Veterans Day] is a reminder of things that happened in the war. The heroes are the deceased, and the rest of us are fortunate that we made it home.”