Just for Vets honors all who served

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

BELOIT—The coffee carafes were full and the sweet treats sat ready for the Tuesday morning meeting of Just for Veterans at Grinnell Hall Senior Center, 631 Bluff St.

Even though John Powers and Ron Schrader were the only two veterans who showed up (the meeting conflicted with the Beloit Senior Fair), they still are convinced of the new group is needed.

“It's something long overdue,” said Powers, 72, Beloit, who served in the Army in the early 1960s.

Schrader, 81, Beloit, who served in the Army  from 1952-53, agreed: “We want to really see this group thrive.”

Just for Veterans meets at 8 a.m. the first Tuesday and 1 p.m. the third Thursday of each month.

“Unfortunately, the Vietnam vets were castigated, and Korea was labeled the forgotten war. We would like to support and admire these vets for putting their time in,” Schrader said.

Grinnell Hall Coordinator Paula Schutt said the facility has a room set aside for use by veterans organizations.

"This is a way I thought we would bring back a bit of the original purpose of the building and honor the vets at the same time,” she said.

Emma H. Grinnell willed $100,000 in April 1936 to build a memorial hall for patriotic organizations in memory of her husband William H. Grinnell.

All vets are invited to enjoy the company of their comrades at Just for Veterans gatherings, have coffee and treats and visit, Schutt said. Cards will be available for those who want to get a game going.

"Once we get going, we want to set some goals, but at this point we're just trying to feel comfortable with each other, listen to each other and each other's ideas," Schrader said.

Attendance has grown from four when the group started in August to an average of six. It doubled when Mark Finley was invited in September to speak about the Vets Roll Program.

"We'd like to build on the membership and establish a strong venue for veterans," Powers said.

Just for Vets isn't meant to compete against other veterans organizations. Powers and Schrader hope the groups can work together to support more vets.

"A lot of vets don't realize the medical and other services available to them if they're not informed," Powers said.

That's why Just for Vets already has veteran-related informational leaflets available.

“With a desire to serve our vets, Grinnell Hall is beginning a new tradition, ” Schutt said.

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