Volunteers greet veterans with cheers and music - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Volunteers greet veterans with cheers and music

Dozens held signs and cheered as a brass band played patriotic tunes. (Photo source: WLOX) Dozens held signs and cheered as a brass band played patriotic tunes. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

They came from all over the country and their arrival was to the sound of applause.

Dozens of volunteers, including active service members, turned out at Gulfport Biloxi International Sunday to welcome competitors of the VA Golden Age Games.

For Air Force vet Dan Deason, the welcome was something he wasn't expecting.

"I thought it was great. The children and everything, the band," Deason said, "You know, we usually weren't welcomed when we came home back in the 60s. So, this makes us feel great."

Deason traveled to the Coast from Michigan with Navy vet Clint Ray, who was blown away by the welcome party.

"I've heard nothing but 'Wow, what an intro for us.' And I think this is the first time that I've ever seen this great of response welcoming us to the games. I think it's wonderful," said Ray.

Dozens held signs and cheered as a brass band played patriotic tunes. For the veterans, it's the perfect beginning to a week of competing.

"Camaraderie with my fellow veterans and just enjoy the state of Mississippi," said Ray. "I'm looking forward to the competition, and we have great competition."

The leader of the "May I Help You Please" committee, Alice Entrekin, points to the reactions on the faces of the veterans as all the reason she needs to help organize more events.

"It's been fabulous. This is kind of my feel good thing. We've had veterans who have said they really appreciate what we're doing," Entrekin said. "They haven't had a welcome like this before and we've had lots of tears. I even had one Vietnam veteran that said he didn't get a welcome like this before when he came home from Vietnam, and it's just meant so much to him."

The Golden Age Games run through Thursday at locations across the Coast. 

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