Gulf Coast Newcomers and Friends Club honors its veteran members during luncheon

The Gulf Coast Newcomers and Friends Club honored its members who served our country today with quilts of valor.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:51 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Gulf Coast Newcomers and Friends Club honored its members who are US Military Veterans at the Great Southern Club in Gulfport today. That’s where they earned Quilts of valor that represent their bravery during the war.

James Mistretta was one of those veterans who received a quilt. Mistretta fought in the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968. He said he recalls the trials and tribulations he faced in war.

“They called us baby killers they said we should’ve not been in the war,” Mistretta said.

Mistretta said he also remembers how he and others were disrespected after returning home from war.

“It made us feel awful,” he said. “A lot of guys lost their lives and then we come back home, and they didn’t treat us very nice at all.”

Gulf Coast Newcomers and Friends Club President Diane Elmore said the sacrifices Mistretta, and others made helped preserve the fabric of this country.

“This was the perfect time to show how much we love them,” Elmore said. “Our veterans are the reason why our country has remained free for over 200 years. It is really an honor to get to recognize them for their service.”

This club was founded in 1970 to help people make friends on the coast. Elmore said she hopes the club teaches people across South Mississippi about what veterans’ sacrifices really mean to this country.

“Our Gulf Coast does love Veterans anyway. That’s one blessing we have living here is that we have so many military bases, so I think we have a mindset of recognizing our military.”

Mistretta said he’s grateful, but he doesn’t think he deserves all of the honor.

“The ones who never came home that’s the ones that they need to honor. We were the lucky ones that came home,” he said.

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