Respect and thanks for the U.S. military, and for all who have sacrificed their lives, are merited every day of the year, but May has become an extra special month to do so across the Grand Strand.
The sixth annual “Military Appreciation Days” – presented by the city of Myrtle Beach and PGBA Inc., with help from various groups in the community – covers every day in May.
Many special events are planned this month, as shown in the list nearby, and they include concerts, a display of four helicopters by the N.C. Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association on Saturday and Sunday in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center plaza, the Traveling Vietnam Wall May 14-18 near Myrtle Beach’s Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium, and the annual Memorial Day weekend parade on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard, this year on May 24 with Montel Williams as the grand marshal.
Bob Hawkins, a retired Army officer from Pawleys Island, said the expansion in this celebration continues in multiple areas, such as the number of exhibitors on Memorial Day weekend, with 25 to 30 expected this year, up from about 20 in 2013. The return of the chopper display worked out for this weekend because of that presenting group having another commitment elsewhere on parade day, he said.
Simply the increase in the number of service members and veterans’ families participating in Military Appreciation Days and “becoming actively involved” in events, all free for them.
“Our goal as a community and city is to say ‘thank you’ and express our gratitude for all veterans and military families who sacrifice so much,” Hawkins said.
A welcome mat goes out to wounded warriors, probably about 60, Hawkins said, from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., as well as the Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
“All of the organizations come to support the wounded warriors when they’re here,” Hawkins said, also crediting such local groups as Scented Soldiers, American Legion Post 178 in Murrells Inlet, and the Myrtle Beach Moose Lodge in the Forestbrook community for community fundraisers.
Roger Pilcher retired as a lieutenant colonel after 28 years in Marine Corps. The Myrtle Beach resident is president of the Military Officers Association of America’s Grand Strand chapter and a member of the Military Appreciation Days planning committee.
He said this monthlong recognition has become a tradition, and that “everybody’s gotten more involved with it,” with businesses also “getting behind it, putting loads” toward the cause.
“It’s grown exponentially,” Pilcher said, especially of the parade lasts more than two hours. “It’s unbelievable.”
He brought up how Rocky Bleier, a Purple Heart recipient from the Vietnam War and later, a four-time Super Bowl-winning running back in the 1970s with the Pittsburgh Steelers, spread cheer after cruising as the 2013 parade grand marshal.
“He just sat there for hours and a long line of people coming up,” Pilcher said, for a meet-and-greet and autographs.
Pilcher also voiced the joy of the MOAA chapter’s scholarship recipients each year who also ride in a “big red Cadillac convertible” in the parade.
“The kids just love it,” he said.
Since his joining the Military Appreciation Days committee a few years ago, Pilcher has saluted all the volunteers who help with this growing monthlong celebration, and for Hawkins’ coordination of their efforts.
Pilcher, who began as a private in the Korean War era and served in Vietnam, also loves seeing wounded warriors who get treated to a “super vacation” week on the Grand Strand ... not to exploit them, but to let them relax and enjoy a week away from the hospitals with their family or caretakers.”
The rising number of these visiting honorees rises each year also pleases Pilcher.
“A lot of them have lost their limbs,” he said, “sometimes both legs. ... All of these guys are just great, and the only thing they want to do is get well and get back in the fray. They’ll say, ‘I just want to get back to my unit.’”
IF YOU GO
What | Sixth annual “Military Appreciation Days”
By | City of Myrtle Beach and PGBA Inc.
When | All of May
Special events include |
Display of four helicopters -- an H Huey, Huey Charlie Gunship, OH-58, and OH-6 -- by N.C. Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at Myrtle Beach Convention Center plaza, on Oak Street at 21st Avenue North. Free.
Traveling Vietnam Wall -- “The Wall That Heals “ -- open 24 hours daily, May 14-18, near Myrtle Beach’s Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium, accessed from Farrow Parkway, by The Market Common.
Military Officers Association of America Grand Strand Chapter Golf Tournament, May 22, with lunch at noon, tourney at 2 p.m., at Legends Golf & Resort’s Heathland course, for $75 per person $280 per team, and reduced rates for veterans. Benefiting college scholarships for high school seniors, wounded warrior trips to Myrtle Beach, and Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center or Little River. Register by May 8 with Greg Youngman at 973-714-5073 or email gyoungman @sc.rr.com, or with Jerry Terwilliger at 903-4047 or email@example.com.
5K Run, 7:30 a.m. May 24, on Ocean Boulevard from Plyler Park, at Mr. Joe White Avenue, and including the boardwalk -- free for military (active duty, reserves and veterans), otherwise $20.
Memorial Day weekend parade, with Montel Williams, Navy veteran and former talk show host, as grand marshal, 10:30 a.m. May 24 on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard, from 27th Avenue North southward to Ninth Avenue North.
Family Picnic, noon-2 p.m. May 24, on Ocean Boulevard, with military exhibits, children’s activities, concert by Andrew Thielen Big Band, and meet-and-greet with Montel Williams. Free meals from Omar Shriners chefs for all military personnel and veterans, and their families
Veterans Beard & ’Stache Beach Bash, on May 24, for veterans, with such categories as Full Beard, Corporate Beard, Partial Beard (Chops, Goatees, Chin Straps),’Stache, Long Beard, Long ‘Stache, Epic Beard, and for all women -- even those who are not veterans -- Ladies’ Faux. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up, and register formally 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. that day at “Beard Table,” then judging starts at 12:30 p.m.
Memorial Day Ceremony, with Grand Strand Patriotic Alliance, 11 a.m. May 26 at Myrtle Beach Convention Center plaza.
Information | 918-1014 or www.militaryappreciationdays.com
OTHER EVENTS TO HONOR AND HELP HEROES
ANNUAL YARD SALE BENEFIT
When | 7:30 a.m.-noon Saturday
Where | “American Legion Post 41, 2667 Main St., Loris
Information | 902-4631
By | Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, and Embrace Hospice
To | Salute veterans at 11 baseball games this year
Where | TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, 1251 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, at Grissom Parkway
When | all 7:05 p.m.:
Saturdays --May 3, 17 and 31; June 7, and 21; July 12 and 19; and Aug. 2 and 30.
“Military Appreciation Night,” June 6 -- on 70th anniversary of Allied’s D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, in World War II -- including distribution of baseball card sets of late and living local veterans from all U.S. conflicts.
Also | Video tributes, produced by the Coastal Carolina University Center for Military and Veterans Studies, at each game, honoring living, local World War II veterans -- to nominate an honoree, also for the card set, email an application (found at www.milb.com/documents/2/8/2/68349282/2014_Embrace_Veterans_Application_5254a3g8.pdf) to Katelyn Guild, Pelicans corporate sales manager, at KGuild@MyrtleBeachPelicans.com or pick one up at, and drop off or mail to, the Pelicans front office, 1251 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577, open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.
Game tickets | Advance prices (and add $1 on game day):
April-May –$8 left-field bleachers, $9 upper deck reserved and $11 field box
June-September – $8/$11/$13, respectively
All-You-Can-Eat Seats, $25, with buffet overlooking Pelicans’ bullpen, in right field
Listen | All games on WRNN-AM 1450, an ESPN Radio affiliate, and at www.espnmyrtlebeach.com
Information | 918-6000, 877-918-8499 or www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com
WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT BENEFIT
What | Donation of 20 percent of all restaurant proceeds
Benefiting | Wounded Warrior Project local chapter, selected by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7288 in Calabash, N.C. (910-579-3577 or myvfw.org/nc/post7288)
When | Wednesday
Where | Fibbers on the Water, 4498 Waterfront Ave, Little River
Information | 280-2271 or www.fibberslittleriver.com, and /www.woundedwarriorproject.org
What | Military themed movies for adults
What and when | 1:30 -3:30 p.m. Fridays:
May 9 -- “Memphis Belle,” set in (World War II
May 16 -- “Good Morning, Vietnam” (Vietnam War)
May 23 -- “Jarhead” (Gulf War)
May 30 -- “Battle: Los Angeles” (imaginary end to world war)
Where | Myrtle Beach's Chapin Memorial Library, 400 14th Ave. N., at Kings Highway
How much | Free, with ticket from front desk
Information | 918-1275 or www.chapinlibrary.org
Benefiting | Area veterans’ causes
When | 1-4 p.m. May 18
Where | VFW Post 10420, 3459 U.S. 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet
Also | Sales of 473 memorial bricks for $50 each to honor anyone -- even someone who’s not a veteran or Veterans of Foreign Wars member -- for grounds around the granite, which salutes 109 service personnel from South Carolina who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan in the war on terror. Post’s memorial “re-dedication” services planned for Memorial Day -- Its initial dedication was on Veterans Day 2013. Call 222-2791.
Information | 651-6900
'HONORING OUR MILITARY' DISCOUNTED CONCERTS
By | Long Bay Symphony Chamber Orchestra, with two violin soloists -- William Terwilliger, concertmaster, and Erin Althoff -- and Ashley Sosis on organ
Performing | Works by such composers as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi
When and where |
7 p.m. May 17 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 3000 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach
4 p.m. May 18 Winyah Auditorium, 1200 Highmarket St., Georgetown
How much | $20 adults, and $10 students younger than 22 with ID.
Military discount | 50 percent off to active duty and retired military personnel, with ID, and their dependent family members
Information | 448-8379 or www.longbaysymphony.com
CANINE ANGELS BENEFITS
Benefiting | A North Myrtle Beach nonprofit that rescues dogs and trains them for use by disabled veterans.
What and when |
“Fore the Pups We Putt Golf Tournament,” 9 a.m. May 24 at Rivers Edge Golf Plantation in Shallotte, N.C., for $80 per person (checks due May 10, made out to Canine Angels, and mailed to Josie McGahn, 950 Meadowlands Trail, Calabash, NC 28467). Details at 609-576-2303.
“Dine, Dance, and Party” with the pups, 6-10 p.m. May 29 at Castano's Italian Steakhouse, in Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach, for $38, including three-course meal from choice of four special menu entrees, live music, prizes, and auctions. 910-398-7850.
Information | 917-575-6235 or www.canineangelsservicedogs.org
‘RED, WHITE and BLUE SALUTE TO VETERANS’
What | Flags placed throughout gardens, May 24-26
Where | Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Huntington Beach State Park
Open | 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
How much | Admission lasts seven days: $14 ages 13-64, $12 ages 65 and older, and $7 ages 4-12
Special programs | Many free with admission:
“Whispering Wings” Butterfly House, 30-minute walk-throughs, for an extra $3 ages 13 and older, $2 ages 4-12, daily through October.
Huntington Sculpture Garden (guided) Tour, at 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. daily through June 6, with extra tours at 1 and 4 p.m. through April
“Mother Nature’s Cafe” – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily through June 6
“Meet the Animals” – 2:30 p.m. daily through June 6
Pontoon creek excursions, 11 a.m., noon, and 2 and 3 p.m. daily through November, with extra rides at 4 and 5:30 p.m. through April, each $8 ages 13 and older, and $4 ages 4-12.
Trekker Overland Excursions, daily through November – “Northern Trek: Laurel Hill Families and Fortunes,” 11 a.m. and 12:30 and 2 p.m. daily through November, for $7 ages 13 and older, and $4 ages 6-12; and “The Oaks Plantation History and Nature Tour, 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m., for $8 ages 13 and older, and $4 ages 4-12.
Also | “Kent Ullberg: A Retrospective” exhibit of 48 works of sculpture), May 17-Aug. 3
Information | 235-6000, 800-849-1931 or www.brookgreen.org.
JAZZ CONCERT BENEFIT
By | Stephanie Trick-Alderighi, pianist -- and wife of Paolo Alderighi, another jazz pianist
Benefiting | Help A Veteran, a nonprofit organization assisting veterans with special needs
When | 1-4 p.m. May 31
Where | Grand Strand Senior Center, 1268 21st Avenue N., Myrtle Beach
How much | $15 individual, or two for $25
Information | 222-0718, or email email@example.com
FREE BOWLING FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY
What | Three games
When | noon-10 p.m. Sundays
Where | Waccamaw Bowling Center, 101 Gray Drive, west of Myrtle Beach, off U.S. 501, just west of River Oaks Drive and Intracoastal Waterway, next to Tire Town
Information | 236-1020 or www.waccamawbowling.com
MILITARY DISCOUNT FOR LEGENDS IN CONCERT
Who | Tributes by the Blues Brothers, Michael Jackson, Elton John and Ricky Nelson (both through Saturday) Madonna, and Elvis Presley, and as of May 12, Steven Tyler
When | 8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Tuesdays
Where | Legends in Concert, on U.S. 17 Bypass, off 29th Avenue North, across from Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach and next to Planet Hollywood
Information | 238-7827, 800-960-7469 or www.legendsinconcert.com
How much, plus tax | Regular rates: $37.95 or $42.95 for ages 17 and older, and $13.95 or $18.95 ages 3-16; booth $48.95 and $23.95, respectively per age group; and VIP $45.95 for all
Military discount through May 30 | Free ticket for active and retired military with the purchase of one full price, regular adult ticket
MILITARY DISCOUNTS FOR PALACE SHOWS
What and when | Regular rates:
“Illusions of Magic,” 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, and 10 a.m. Wednesdays, for $34.95, $39.95 or $44.95 ages 13 and older, matinees $29.95; and $9.95 ages 12 or younger for all shows.
“Hot Jersey Nights” Frankie Valli tribute, 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10 a.m. Wednesdays, for $29.95 ages 13 and older, and $9.95 ages 3-12.
Also, through May 31 | Tickets for active and retired military $25 each plus tax, also good for two other people in party.
Where | Palace Theatre, at U.S. 17 Bypass and 21st Avenue North at Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach
Information | 448-0588, 888-841-2787 or www.palacemb.com
OTHER SERVICE GROUPS
DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS GRAND CHAPTER 30
Where | 2987 Church St., Myrtle Beach, between extensions of 29th and 38th avenues North, west of U.S. 17 Bypass
Office open | 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays
Services include | Free transportation for injured and ill veterans to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities -- such as commutes between the VA Primary Care Clinic in Myrtle Beach and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston -- and free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the VA and other government agencies
Lifetime membership | Free for ages 80 and older, $140 ages 71-79, $180 ages 61-70, $230 ages 41-60, and $250 ages 40 and younger
Also | Meetings at 7 p.m. first Thursday monthly
Information | 448-6483 or www.dav.org , and locally: www.davmembersportal.org/chapters/sc/30/default.aspx
VETERANS WELCOME HOME AND RESOURCE CENTER
When | 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 8 a.m.-noon Fridays
Where | 4254 Stella Court; Little River
Services include | Operation Welcome Home, through which volunteers, upon prior invitation, will go wherever requested to greet any service member upon their return.
Information | 427-4568 or www.veteranswelcomehomeandresourcecenter.org, and email firstname.lastname@example.org
GRAND STRAND BLUE STAR MOTHERS
What and when |
Collecting donations with North Myrtle Beach Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at Wal-Mart, 550 U.S. 17 N., North Myrtle Beach
Packing “Hero Boxes” on May 17 to send to deployed troops -- donations of items and postage also sought -- see full list of items at www.grandstrandbluestarmothers.com/hero-box.html
Also | Meetings at 7 p.m. on third Thursday each month at American Legion Post 186, 4285 Pine Drive, Little River
Information | 390-5639, email email@example.com, or U.S. mail to P.O. Box 893, Longs, SC 29568
BLUE STAR MOTHERS OF COASTAL CAROLINA
Requesting | Names and addresses of deployed military personnel for future “Hero Box” mailings – send name, full mailing address and deployment dates to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also | Meetings at 6 p.m. on fourth Monday each month at Moose Lodge, 479 Burcale Road, in Forestbrook community, near Arrowhead Country Club
Information | 903-1012 or www.bluestarmothersofcoastalcarolina.com, or email email@example.com
SCENTS FOR SOLDIERS
Benefiting | healing of wounded veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (800-(301-295-4000, 800-526-7101 or www.wrnmmc.capmed.mil), and helping their families
Donations welcome | P.O. Box 30607; Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
Information | 458-5873, or email Christina Shealy, founder, at firstname.lastname@example.org
HALL OF HEROES
When | Open 9 a.m. daily
Where | Sands Ocean Dunes Resort, 201 75th. Ave. N., Myrtle Beach
How much | Free
Includes | Scaled replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, with all 58,253 names; information about each U.S. war/conflict; displays on flags and the Korean War; Gold Dog Tag display honoring those that died in hostile action since the Vietnam War; and names and location of the 2,984 Americans who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.
Information | 692-5265, 692-5100 or www.sandsresorts.com/hall-of-heroes
‘MINI MILITARY MUSEUM’
Where | Veterans Cafe & Grille, 3544 Northgate Blvd., Myrtle Beach, in Northgate Plaza, off S.C. 707 at southwest corner at U.S. Bypass, near Dollar General
When | 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Also | Monthly meetings for veterans of the Merchant Marines and all services, by John. T. Schmidt Chapter/Palmetto Mariners, with lunch and fellowship at noon, meeting at 1 p.m. Details at 651-8046 or www.usmmsc.com.
Information | 232-8387
Who | A volunteer, all-donation-funded group co-founded by Chelsea Carey -- who grew up in Myrtle Beach -- that provides wounded military personnel and veterans with debilitating injuries their own baby carriers so they don’t miss out on bonding with and holding their young children safely and comfortably
What | Soft-structured, customized carriers, all new and with warranties
How much | Free to veterans who apply
Information | 209-975-7825 (RUCK), www.ruckabyebaby.org, email email@example.com, or by U.S. mail to Ruckabye Baby, 3601 Bluebird Ave., McAllen, TX 78504
MILITARY OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
Who | Grand Strand Chapter
Meets | 6 p.m. second Tuesday monthly
Where | Pine Lakes Country Club in Myrtle Beach
Information | 449-6807 or www.grandstrandmoaa.com
MILITARY ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART
Based in | Springfield, Va. – 703-354-2140, 888-668-1656 or www.purpleheart.org
S.C. contact | Richard Roszelle of Bluffton, adjutant, 843-815-2184, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also | Purple Hearts Reunited, which helps return lost medals to recipients’ families: www.purpleheartsreunited.org, email email@example.com, or by U.S. mail: P.O. Box 2121, Georgia, VT 05468
WORLD WAR II REGISTRY
Where | www.wwiimemorial.com/default.asp?page=registry.asp&subpage=intro