Honor veterans at balloon launch

Published 12:09 am Monday, May 23, 2016

The public is invited to a new event to remember our fallen veterans and honor our men and women in uniform. It is the Patriotic Balloon Launch at 10 a.m. May 28 at The Vue Hotel and Conference Center high above the bluff near the Mississippi River Bridge.

This event also will salute the Natchez tricentennial. We’ll release 300 balloons (100 red, 100 white, 100 blue). Area residents will be able to “tag” a balloon in memory or in honor of an individual who served or is serving in the Armed Forces. The launch is sponsored by The Vue, Home With Heroes Foundation Inc., a non-profit helping veterans and their families, and the Adams County Veterans Service Office. Service Officer Sonjagela Johnson will be there.

Following the launch, there will be the presentation of “In Their Boots: Voices of Our Soldiers,” a stirring multi-media program with actual video clips of men and women who served during World War II, including local veterans Robert “Bob” Mims, McKinley Barnes, Paul Foster, the late Harold Gardner and others. This will be a rousing program followed by “A Call to Action,” about how residents can help veterans and their families. Refreshments will be served and free items will be available.

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The presentation is sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council and VFW Post 9573.

The entire program is free and open to the public. We will have balloons, the tags and U.S. Flags. We encourage families to attend to allow the younger folks the chance to see patriotism in action.

This will be a great way to kick off Memorial Day weekend.

Great things are ahead for local veterans and their families. Home With Heroes has a launch of its own kind: three programs. One is the Helping Hands for Veterans Project, where we will provide light yard and home improvements free of charge. Another is a companion to Helping Hands. It’s the Visit-A-Vet Program, where we partner visiting folks with veterans. The third is the Veteran To Veteran YouTube channel where people can view short clips relating to veterans, services, interviews and other message and programs. All of these are free to veterans.

At Home With Heroes we emphasize no officer or board member earns any compensation. Our officers are me as president and Jimmy Allgood as vice president. Our board members are Calvin Butler, chairman; Teresa Busby, vice chairman; Donnie Verucchi, Pattie Reed Jones, and Forrest “Al” Johnson. We earn our money through fund-raisers, grants, events and donations. Home With Heroes is a 501(c)(3) organization based in the Miss-Lou.

So join the fun and show your patriotic spirit. Please call me at 601-442-0980 or email at gmarklafrancis@hotmail.com with questions.

And remember, please pray for our men and women serving in our Armed Forces.


G. Mark LaFrancis is president of the Home With Heroes Foundation.