Mason County residents Beckie Stein-Lambert, Donna Bachus and Janie Collins, each of whom works at ERA Town and Country Real Estate in Point Pleasant, said that plans are moving forward for what is now being called “Operation Soldier Care,” a celebration that will feature a parade to honor the Field Service Company, 1092nd Engineer Battalion based at the Point Pleasant National Guard Armory. The 1092nd is scheduled to head overseas on Monday, Feb. 22.
The parade is set for 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19 in Point Pleasant. The event will culiminate with a flag ceremony outside the Gene Salem Senior Center, located at 101 Second Street.
Stein-Lambert said Mason County Commissioner Miles Epling, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, chairman of the West Virginia Veterans Council and state adjutant for the American Legion, was instrumental in obtaining a donation of flags from the office of U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). Members of the 1092nd will then take the flags with them overseas. Capito is tentatively scheduled to make an appearance at the parade, but that has not been finalized, according to Stein-Lambert.
The organizing committee has agreed that once the troops are deployed, the work on the homefront will not stop. Plans are being made to establish collection and donation centers where local residents can contribute items that will be sent to the troops during their deployment. Stein-Lambert said the committee will make available to the public a list of items that can be sent overseas.
Additionally, the committee has established a fund through the Mason County Chamber of Commerce and Peoples Bank so that residents who wish to make monetary donations can do so. Checks must be made payable to the Mason County Chamber of Commerce.
Stein-Lambert said donations of any kind can also be dropped off at the ERA Town and Country Real Estate office, located at 1911 Jefferson Boulevard in Point Pleasant.
Dr. William Capehart, superintendent of Mason County Schools, said that each school in the county will also collect donations for the 1092nd. Marching bands from each high school are scheduled to participate in the parade on Feb. 19.
Stein-Lambert said that civic groups, churches or other organizations are welcome to participate in the parade. She asked that any interested parties contact her office at (304) 675-5548, Point Pleasant Mayor Brian Billings at (304) 675-2360, Capehart’s office at (304) 675-4540, or Miles Epling at (888) 534-4667.