HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - On Wednesday, nearly 100 supporters welcomed 30 wounded or injured service members to the Rocket City at the Huntsville International Airport.
The Semper Fi Community Task Force of North Alabama is hosting the veterans as part of its 12th annual Heroes Week, where the servicemen from across the country will be treated to the Tennessee Valley’s hospitality.
The veterans will get to enjoy a fishing tournament with professional bass fishermen, a Veterans' Day breakfast and parade, the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, an opportunity to visit and speak at local schools, a boat parade on Lake Guntersville, an aerial tour of North Alabama, and a number of meals hosted by local businesses.
Command Sgt. Major Billy Counts of Redstone Arsenal was on hand to welcome the wounded service members and said the recognition is well deserved.
“It’s kind of embarrassing sometimes because you’re just shaking their hand, and they’re coming up to you saying ‘thank you for coming out,' but it’s really just a tangible way for us to thank them for their service,” Counts said.
Elementary school children from Madison Academy joined Counts, other servicemen and veterans in recognizing the wounded warriors.
Counts said the community really rallies around its veterans.
“Growing up here, I knew that this was a very military-service friendly town. Most places celebrate armed forces once a year or veterans week once a year, here’s it’s a year long celebration,” he said.
Semper Fi Community Task Force Chairman Dave Bonwit agreed.
“This community is what makes it so special, because there are other communities that do wonderful things in their towns, but I don’t know of anybody who does it quite like Huntsville,” he said.
The service members are from all five branches of the military, and the veterans will be honored Nov. 7-13.