Classic car cruisers "salute" veterans at Biloxi VA drive-in

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The annual salute to veterans brought hundreds of classic cars to the Biloxi VA Medical Center Tuesday morning. The cruise-in at the VA has become one of the most popular venues during Cruisin' the Coast.

Classic car owners waved flags, shared stories with veterans and reminisced about the good ole' days.

Patients from the VA medical center look forward to the annual visit from classic car owners. For their part, car owners see this annual pit stop as much more than another chance to show-off their rides. It's an opportunity to thank a veteran.

"We love the fact that people come out to park their beautiful cars and have the veterans come out from the medical center and see them and bring back memories from times past, and it's just a great activity. There's lots of veterans who bring their cars out," said Tom Wisnieski, Director of the Biloxi VA Medical Center.

Vietnam veteran Gary Brouillette was happy to be there. Seeing the smiles on VA patients' faces is one of the reasons this venue is a must stop for cruisers.

"It's showing all the appreciation for the veterans out there. That's why everybody shows up out here, 'cause they like the veteran guys. Especially the guys in the hospital over here," said Brouillette.

Good friends from Gonzales, Louisiana are among the cruisers who wouldn't think of missing the VA event. They've been a part of Cruisin' the Coast since its inception.

"We come every year. This is about our 14th time out here. We enjoy it. Come out and stay the week," said Buddy Lee.

"I like coming out here and seeing different cars. I like to see an odd car, you know, like you've never seen before," added his friend, Gussie Bougeois.

VA patient Charles A. Richardson Jr. has a favorite ride.

"Chevy SS Super Sport," he said, as one passed by.

Like so many car show visitors, he admits to a little classic car envy.

"I'm looking for me one one day, if I can be able to buy me one and come here and park like they do," he explained.

Ethyl isn't for sale. That's Ed Booth's 1930 Ford he named after his mother-in-law.

"I did that because she's 80-years-old, she's a little cranky and lets off a little steam once in a while. But I think you'll admit, she still looks pretty good for her age," said Booth, a veteran and cruiser from Ocean Springs.

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