The annual Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony, hosted by the American Legion Lafayette Post No. 149 of Fayetteville, will take place this year on Veterans Day.
“We’ve been having this several years now, and this is the first time it has fallen on Veterans Day,” said Jim Akers, an Air Force veteran who is a member of the Lafayette Post and one of the event’s organizers. The annual event is set for Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Fayette County Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building.
“We will be honoring our many veterans who have served so gallantly in the past, and the military men and women who are serving at this time and are in harm’s way in every corner of the world,” Akers said earlier this week.
Judge John W. Hatcher Jr., a Vietnam veteran, will emcee the ceremony, which will also include the Fayette Institute of Technology JROTC and performances by the Fayetteville Community Choir.
Keynote speakers for the event are two Fayette County natives who are active armed forces members, Lt. Col. Shane M. Sullivan and Lt. Col. James “Marty” Akers.
Sullivan grew up in Fayetteville. He is the son of Jim and Carol Sullivan, who still reside in Fayetteville. He graduated from Fayetteville High School in 1990 and from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1994.
LTC Sullivan earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from West Point and a Master’s in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and is certified in Program Management and Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering.
Sullivan and his wife, Rhonda, live in Lorton, Va., with their two children, Ryan, 9, and Kate, 8.
Lt. Col. James Martin “Marty” Akers was born at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. He was commissioned into the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in May 1993, after graduation from Fayetteville High School and earning a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Institute of Technology.
Akers is married to the former Traci Lynn Bowen of Gauley Bridge, and they have an 11-month-old son, Ethan. He is the son of Jim and Freda Akers of Fayetteville.
“We hope you will make arrangements to come out to help us honor these men and women who have defended/are defending our freedom so honorably and bravely,” Akers said.