The Heather Lakes ride is organized by Kris Tourtellotte, director of the Veterans Welcome Home & Resource Center. After Heather Lakes, a second ride will go to Memorial Gardens for the annual Memorial Day ceremony there. In Heather Lakes, off U.S. 17 at the north edge of Little River, the motorcyclists will stop briefly at the home of retired Air Force general Howard Alsop. “Last year, we rode by the general’s house; this year we’re going to stop and salute him,” Tourtellotte says.
The motorcyclists will ride through a “Pathway of Honor” of U.S. flags displayed approximately every 10 feet from the entrance off U.S. 17 into the community. Resident Fred Pitre will lead the ride on a decorated dune buggy. The breakfast also is a fundraiser for the center; food is donated and residents pay for breakfast. Last year the breakfast raised $1,000 for the center.
“We are very grateful to our veterans and soldiers,” Calverley says, noting the community includes several retired military families. Her husband, Clifford, is a retired Army sergeant first class who served two tours in Vietnam. Three sons served in the military and their eldest grandson is a career soldier just back from Afghanistan.
“It doesn’t take much to put up a flag, or tell a veteran ‘Thank you for your service,’ ” she says. It’s a patriotic point well taken, and especially during the next several days.
The wounded warriors visit is again compliments of Christina Shealy’s Scents for Soldiers, a 501(c)(3) organization she formed after a visit to the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. The name comes from holiday scents such as pumpkin pie.
Since the first visit three years ago, Shealy has had tremendous support from many businesses and organizations. One prime example is the Grand Strand Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, which is again sponsoring a float for the visiting veterans in the parade on Saturday.
“They really enjoy being in the parade,” says MOAA chapter Roger Pilcher. MOAA is also sponsoring two breakfasts.
A day on the water is scheduled Sunday, provided by Tammie Boger’s Adventure Cruises of Garden City Beach. The visitors will be at the Memorial Day Ceremony Monday and a goodbye party at the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet with catering by Texas Roadhouse. A tip of the hat to Shealy and the many sponsors who make the visits happen.