By Victoria Fregoso, Lead Reporter at County10.com
(Riverton) – Fremont County residents, along with the rest of Wyoming have another date on the calendar they can use to honor veterans and give them the recognition they deserve.
Governor Matt Mead has declared March 30th as “Wyoming Veterans Welcome Home Day.”
“There has been many veterans and many people who felt that both the veterans from Korea and Vietnam really did not receive a welcome home they should have received. And subsequently, other areas of conflict, the same situation has arisen,” said Patty Lawson, District 9 Commissioner of the Wyoming Veterans’ Commission.
The actual date it’s self has a huge significance.
“That is the day America took it’s last foot print out of Vietnam and came home. So this is for all veterans, not specifically Vietnam, not specifically Korea. Specifically to recognize and thank and honor them all and bring them home as we should have.”
With Fremont County having the largest veteran population in the state, several celebrations took place. On the reservation, an honor sweat was held. This welcome home day in Riverton is celebrated in a family style environment.
“To bring the people together as if they were coming home to the family. With the punch, with the coffee, water, soft drinks, home made cookies. A time to sit and visit and know each other.”
Also showing support for veterans in Fremont County is the veterans assistance group which is made up of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled Veterans and the Marine Corps League.
“Those four commanders come together and we work in a unit for all veterans, for all funerals, for all the events here and from any dedication or money we get, it’s kept in Fremont County, to take care of emergent needs of our veterans.”
Some of the funds go towards medicine, food, gas and funeral expenses. For the second year in a row, Riverton Memorial Hospital donated money to the veterans assistance group, this year the check
was worth $500.
“This year they called and said, “we’d like to come again, can we come for the 30th?” I said “sure.” It was double the amount of money!” Lawson said with excitment. “And that money goes a long way, it really does.”
While the support for veterans in Fremont County is strong, the veterans organizations are looking to grow, and are looking for younger service members returning home.
“The problem with our veterans is when they come home, they go to work. They don’t pat themselves on the back. And I think that’s part of our heritage of Wyoming, we do our job and we go back to doing our job.”