Dusten Rader/For The Recorder
Members of Venture Crew 53 serve Boy Scout Troop Leader James Ryan of Gloversville during the Veterans Picnic Saturday.
By DUSTEN RADER
For The Recorder
JOHNSTOWN — Hundreds of veterans, family members and supporters gathered Saturday at Pine Tree Rifle Club for the second annual Veterans Picnic hosted by Assemblyman Marc Butler’s office.
The event, which sees approximately 300 area veterans and current service members attend, featured a free meal, speakers, entertainment, prizes and more.
According to Butler, he is very happy with the turnout this year and will definitely host the event again next year.
“We had such a great community response that will be able to do it again next year, I promise,” Butler said. “We were very pleased, people really seemed to enjoy it. It was really a nice thing to see the community come together to thank the vets — a great day all the way around.”
The guest speaker this year was retired U.S. Marine Col. Robert. J. Smullen, who Butler said gave a great speech and is a bright young man who has a lot to look forward to.
Director of the Fulton County Veterans Service Agency Dan Engel spoke to attendees about the organization’s goal to help veterans get the benefits that are due to them by the veterans administration. The organization has an office at 19 North William St. in Johnstown.
“It is wonderful to see a community that supports our veterans because our veterans support our community every single day,” Engel said.
Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino also spoke during the event to honor veterans for their service, he said: “When people ask me about Fulton County I say we’re still a place where people stand for the pledge of allegiance and kneel when they pray — that says something about the community.”
Vietnam Veteran Bob Dunn of Amsterdam brought his therapy dog Pepe to the event because he attended last year and really enjoyed it.
“Men, strong, brave, come out and we want to celebrate each other’s duty to our country,” Dunn said.
Sandra Peters, president of the Gloversville Glamour Girls Society, said her group strives to inspire civic participation and interest.
“On behalf of our society were are here to honor veterans for their service,” Peters said.
Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Kilmer also attended the event in support of the veterans, he said.
“This is the type of thing that we need in our community and I wish that every other community did it like Marc Kilmer and the Pine Tree Rifle Club,” Kilmer said. “This represents the feelings of the community — we are here to celebrate the veterans.”