Veterans honored by AEDC at VA picnic

  • Published
  • By Bradley Hicks
  • AEDC Public Affairs

Arnold Air Force Base welcomed veterans from the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Murfreesboro for a day of food and activities at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex, or AEDC, Veterans Appreciation Picnic that took place at Arnold Lakeside Complex.

Due to COVID, the annual event underwent a four-year hiatus. Col. Randel Gordon, AEDC commander, stated that it was an honor to welcome the veterans back.

“We are honored to have so many veterans from so many different walks of life in the local community who we are able to bring out to this event. As far as I know, Arnold has not been able to do this for the last four years, so this is nice just to bring back the connection with the community and do what we can to keep these connections alive. These are the stories that we want to make sure that our younger generations fully understand and appreciate,” Gordon explained.

Arnold AFB personnel were on hand to volunteer by serving veterans a meal along with handing out goodie bags.

According to Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Cirricione, senior enlisted leader of AEDC, the event was supported by a number of volunteers.

“We had somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 volunteers alone, which was more than the veterans that we had attending today, so it was a great turnout,” she said. “It was beautiful weather for it and we were very happy to see that.

“It’s very exciting to bring these veterans down from the veteran’s home and thank them for their years of service. We want to let them know that they are still important to us and we still appreciate them.”

Veterans in attendance also participated in boat rides around Woods Reservoir and horse drawn carriage rides around Arnold Village.

Kimberly Dawes and her father, David Nicely, were among the attendees for the picnic. Dawes came along with her father for the event. She stated that her father, a Vietnam veteran, was excited about being able to take part in the day’s festivities.

“These events mean so much to him,” she said. “He was excited to learn about the picnic and has been looking forward to coming out and enjoying the day.”

Dawes added she appreciates Arnold AFB taking the time to honor veterans.

“They all love it,” she said. “It really means a lot to them to come out and be able to talk with the men and women in uniform. They will be talking about this day for months. We appreciate the Air Force and Arnold for showing their appreciation to my father and all of these veterans.”