The Royal Neighbors of America Chapter 9890 of Riverbank celebrated 10 years with veterans this past Saturday, Nov. 4 in recognition of their service and sacrifice prior to the Veterans’ Day holiday. The Veterans Luncheon has been going strong for the past 10 years due primarily to the efforts of event organizer Diane Talbert and volunteers. This event has been dear to her heart since losing her brothers in the Vietnam War and through this luncheon, she said she has been able to honor them and give back.
There were 186 guests that attended this year’s lunch with O’Brien’s Market catering once again. Guests were served up tri-tip, chicken Marsala, a variety of salads and for dessert peach and berry cobblers with vanilla ice cream. In celebration of the 10th anniversary year, veterans received a special remembrance folder and an embossed mug in recognition of the annual luncheon. For entertainment Fred Stepp and the Stompers played music throughout the meal.
There were Navy Seal cadets that helped serve the veterans that were unable to walk the buffet line. Staffing the line and helping to serve up the food were served by Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien and other city council members.
The luncheon was dedicated to three fallen heroes: John Ramos, Vietnam veteran; Roy Harris, Navy Veteran, Korean War; and Jack Teague, Marine Veteran who served during WWII.
Diane Talbert’s mother-in-law Donna Talbert, who passed away in September, was also honored.
“Ron Harris from Modesto presented a wonderful slide show on the history of the American Veterans from the Civil War,” added Talbert. “It was a wonderful presentation.”
Harris had also previously made an appearance at California Avenue Elementary school, with a special assembly hosted for all grades on Friday, Nov. 3 in recognition of Veterans’ Day. Harris gave the students a presentation on the flag and those in attendance also sang a few patriotic songs.
Meanwhile, veterans are invited to make the short trip to neighboring Escalon on Saturday, Nov. 11 to enjoy a free meal at Hula’s Restaurant on Jackson Avenue (Highway 120) on the east end of town.
After successfully staging a ‘Veterans Eat Free’ event last Veterans’ Day, owner Tony Victorino said he wants to do it again. Victorino has issued an invitation to all veterans – from Escalon, Oakdale, Riverbank and surrounding areas – to stop by the restaurant on Saturday for a free meal. Hours for the event will be all day, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“We’re not requiring ID,” Victorino added. “I’m a vet myself; I spent four years in the Coast Guard.”
He said the free meal is a way to offer thanks to veterans for their service.
Also, looking ahead to the holiday season, the Mid-Cal Blue Star Moms are getting ready to ship care packages overseas to the troops; the organization will meet on Thursday night, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. at Mt. Mike’s in Escalon to discuss the project and all are welcome to attend. Members come from several Central Valley communities, including Riverbank.