Local veterans celebrated at Council on Aging luncheon

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In honor of Veterans Day, the St. Johns County Council on Aging held a Veterans Day luncheon Tuesday, Nov. 13, at THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach, the luncheon included a presentation from K9s For Warriors and food from Woody’s Bar-B-Q. 

The event was attended by several war veterans, including 98-year-old Ponte Vedra resident and former World War II fighter pilot Michael Spencer, who said he was there to “recognize other people who had been at war and contributed toward our safety and security.”

Rotarian and World War II veteran Don Blackburn, 91, was also on hand to show his appreciation for others who had served. He described himself as the “luckiest veteran of World War II.” 

“On May 7, 1945, I turned 18 and the Selective Service board saw fit to let me finish high school. … I wound up going to Japan in 1946 until spring of ’47 as an occupational force with Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Far East Command in Tokyo — discharged on April 20, 1947.” 

Others in attendance included St. Johns County Commissioner Jay Morris, a Vietnam War veteran himself, and Florida Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, who both helped to serve guests alongside local Rotarians. 

“It’s a real privilege to be here to celebrate Veterans Day and to hear about K9s For Warriors,” Stevenson said. “I’m also really proud to serve with Commissioner Morris and I want to honor his service in the military. I know he was a pilot.

“People who serve in the military know how tough things can be,” Stevenson continued. “Sometimes in political life, you think it’s a little tough, and then when I hear about their stories, I think it’s a walk in the cool, green grass compared to that. So, thank you for your service to our country.”

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