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Exchange Club honors veterans

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Ken Bevel, a senior associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church, spoke to the Exchange Club of Albany Friday at the club’s luncheon meeting.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Ken Bevel, a senior associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church, spoke to the Exchange Club of Albany Friday at the club’s luncheon meeting.

ALBANY — The Exchange Club of Albany remembered veterans and their contributions to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at the club’s luncheon meeting Friday.

Speaking at the meeting, retired U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Ken Bevel read from a story citing Medal of Honor winner and Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer for his bravery.

According to the citation, while on patrol in Afghanistan members of Meyer’s unit were ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above.

Despite a shrapnel wound from the pitched 6-hour battle, Meyer made five trips into the heart of the fighting with the Taliban enemy, rescued 39 Marines and Afghan troops, and recovered a number of bodies.

“How do we thank veterans?” Bevel said. “Do we just say ‘Thank you for your service?’

“How do we thank the men and women who have served in so many wars so that Americans can maintain their freedoms?”

Deciding he needed help in coming up with

an answer, Bevel called friends in the service around the world. Thank yous came in in various languages: from France, it was “merci,” Germany “danke schon” and Hawaii, “mahalo.” The words did not seem to convey the thought, Bevel said.

Bevel said the best way to say thank you for your service was to accompany the words with actions.

“We must say thank you by exercising our liberties, the liberties the veterans fought for us to have. We must continue to fight for freedom and civil liberties. We must fight for others’ liberties,” Bevel said, “as they fought for ours.”

As part of the annual “One Nation Under God” Veterans Day salute, the Exchangites gave Bevel a standing ovation.

Applause had earlier greeted Exchangite Richard Pitts as he gave a report on the recent Exchange Club Fair’s special free shows for pre-k and kindergarten children.

“I expected 500 kids on Thursday, and we had 979,” Pitts said. “We had 1,572 kids come to the special shows at the fair.”