About 50 supporters gathered at McCormick field this morning to honor veterans and contribute to Operation Homefront of the Carolinas, a nonprofit which provides financial relief, recovery assistance and recognition to veterans and their families in the Carolinas.
The color guard of Freedom High School in Morganton presented the colors, followed by a speech from Private First Class James Hamby, a North Carolina native who served in the 29th Field Artillery Battalion of the U.S. Army during World War II. He fought in five European battles, including the invasion of Normandy, France.
After the ceremony, supporters circled the outfield 10 times — or 7,056 steps, the number walked by first responders climbing the towers during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Hamby attended the 70th anniversary of the invasion in Normandy this year, and said the French people were very welcoming.
“Everything was repaired, all the houses and roads were as good as they could be, no bumps,” he said. “The people were outstanding. I received enough hugs and kisses to last a lifetime.”
Today’s event was sponsored primarily by Bank of America as well as Mission Health, Ingles, the Asheville Tourists and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
Beth Hicks, Military Support and Assistance Group chair for Bank of America, said the bank is close to completing its goal of hiring 10,000 veterans over five years.
“The Military Support and Assistance Group does everything from helping military families to recruiting veterans to work at the bank,” she said. “Their talents are truly world class and we want to give back to them through employment.”