With Veterans Day coming up Monday, organizations in Burke County will honor the service of local veterans:

» Friday: Veterans Day program at New Dimensions Charter School

New Dimensions Charter School will hold a Veterans Day program at 2:15 p.m. in the middle school auditorium at 501 E. Concord St. in Morganton. The program, which is free and open to the community, will include the Freedom High School JROTC presenting the colors and leading the Pledge of Allegiance, musical performances by students, a recognition of veterans and active duty military service members, a military-themed video, student recognitions and refreshments.

» Friday: Veterans Day program at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge

Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge will present a Veterans Day program at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the atrium on its Morganton campus. The program will feature Lt. Col. Terry Connelly, senior Army instructor for the Freedom and Patton high schools JROTC programs. Connelly said the theme of his presentation will be “We Are Still Disciplined and On Time.”

Connelly graduated from East Burke High School in 1978, where he was active in student government, basketball and football, according to his biography. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor of science in information systems and management. His graduate studies included resource management at Syracuse University.

Connelly was then commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Corp of the U.S. Army. He served at all levels of command and in three different combat tours throughout his 21 years of service from 1983 to 2004 before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. In addition to coordinating the JROTC programs, Connelly also serves on the leadership team at Freedom High School.

He is the commander of the Berry-Chambers-Wright American Legion Post No. 322. He also is a member of Delta Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Queen of the West Masonic Lodge No. 70. He is an active member of Willow Tree AME Church, where he serves as the pro tem of the trustee board. He is a former board member for Burke County United Way.

A choir comprised of all four Burke County high school choral groups will perform during the program, which is free and open to the community.

» Saturday: Veterans’ dinner

The Berry-Chambers-Wright American Legion Post No. 322 Auxiliary will offer a free dinner for local veterans from 4-6 p.m. Saturday at the Mountain View Recreation Center in Morganton, an annual tradition for the group.

» Monday: Veterans’ breakfast

The Disabled American Veterans Morganton Chapter No. 43 will offer its annual free breakfast to area veterans from 7-9 a.m. Monday at its headquarters at 2779 DAV Ave. in Morganton. The menu will include biscuits and gravy, eggs, grits and beverages.

“All veterans and their families are invited to come out and enjoy the comradeship with other veterans,” said Dave Tubergen, commander of the chapter. “Come on out and see the fastest growing chapter in the state.”

For more information, contact Tubergen at 828-437-0177 or dave@burketruth.com.

» Monday: Veterans Day service

The Burke County Veterans Day program will take place at 11 a.m. in the large conference room at Foothills Higher Education Center in Morganton. The program is free and open to the community.

A pre-program meet and greet will precede the program at 10:30 a.m. The Burke County Choraleers will perform patriotic songs. Local veterans’ organizations will have informational booths set up. Molly Eller, the veterans’ service officer for Burke County, who is leading a committee organizing the service, will receive American flags for retirement and disposal. The Marine Corps League Table Rock Det. No. 1197 will collect toys for the Toys for Tots program.

The Marine Corps League will present the colors at the start of the service. Local Boy and Girl Scout troops will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem.

Kelly Tate, vice president of community relations for Carolina Caring, will introduce the keynote speaker, Ricky Johnson, who is a peer support specialist with Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry and a Marine Corps veteran. The ministry describes itself as “one of the key nonprofit organizations addressing poverty, hunger, homelessness and access to health care for the under-served in Buncombe County.”

“He is one of the providers that I refer veterans to for help,” Eller said.

Veterans in attendance will be invited to stand up as the Choraleers sing the fight song of each branch of the military. One veteran will receive a patriotic-themed quilt from members of the Burke Quilters’ Guild.

Al Gurowski, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Table Rock Post No. 5362, and Amanda Garrison of the post’s auxiliary will perform a POW/MIA recognition ritual, and Dave Tubergen, commander of the Disabled American Veterans Morganton Chapter No. 43 will place a ceremonial wreath on the front of the stage in honor of veterans.

Visitors are invited to stay after the service and enjoy a free lunch provided by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge and cake provided by Food Lion. A raffle will be held for a prayer shawl.

“Come support your veterans that have given so much,” Eller said.

For more information, contact the Burke County Veterans’ Service office at 828-439-4376.

» Thursday, Nov. 14: Veterans Appreciation Day

The Burke County Register of Deeds office will offer a Veterans Appreciation Day from 2:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, at its facility at 201 S. Green St. in Morganton, in the building to the right of the Burke County courthouse. The event will include a veterans' benefit fair and a "Rescue Pets for Vets" meet-and-greet. For more information, contact the office at 828-764-9340.

Staff writer Tammie Gercken can be reached at tgercken@morganton.com.

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Staff writer Tammie Gercken can be reached at tgercken@morganton.com.

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