Greetings Veterans and Patriots,

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. Now that 2021 is upon us, it is time to start planning for the 21st Annual POW*MIA Awareness Rally and Motorcycle Rodeo! Since we are still dealing with COVID, we will not be able to have the 2021 Planning Meeting any time soon, therefore it has been decided that it would be better for this upcoming year to stick with what we have normally done. We are working with the Bannock County to have the Rally on July 23rd and 24th (the last full weekend in July). Mark your calendars!

We missed seeing everyone at the Christmas Party that was cancelled, and we are sorry to announce we will be missing another meeting. The January General Meeting that was scheduled for Friday, January 15th is cancelled. We will be sending out lane leader reports on a distro to keep everyone up to date on what is happening. You may get a call from a lane leader asking if you are interested in filling a particular position. If you don’t get a call feel free to call a lane leader and let them know you want to help out. I’m sure we can find a volunteer opportunity for you to fill. The Rally takes a lot of work and all your help is much appreciated.

Although many events continue to get cancelled, we have been able to get together for a few special occasions.

Hope everyone had a chance to drive through the Idaho State Veterans Home for their community drive-by tree viewing. I am honored that we were able to be a part of it to spread a little Christmas joy to the Heroes on the Hill. From what I hear, the veterans really enjoyed the decorations. Thank you to Great Western Malt and Western States Cat for partnering with us to get the lights hung and taken down.

Another important special event occurred. We were able to get John Amodie’s flag donated to be hung in the cantina area at the Idaho State Veteran’s Home.

The 15th Annual Biker for Blood Community Blood Drive was successful again this year, but had its fair share of COVID glitches. The Red Cross was short-staffed due to COVID precautions and they were unable to get everyone through that was scheduled to donate blood. We appreciate everyone who scheduled an appointment to donate blood and want to say thank you to those of you who were able to donate. Your time was much appreciated. The Chopskis and Fitzens did a great job pulling off this event and thank you Kristine Gunter and Trystin Barnes for volunteering to be Billy Blood Drop.

Wreaths Across America was another honorable achievement. A few of us had to work and missed this event, but from what I was told Civil Air Patrol had a very good ceremony and we were honored to be a part of it. Thank you to everyone who made donations to purchase wreaths. We are also grateful to those who were able to be on hand to place the wreaths. Remember. Honor. Teach.

Many community events that we support have already been cancelled for 2021. Sportsmen Against Hunger, Elko Chili Feed, and Brewfest have all been cancelled or postponed. Chrome in the Dome is still unsure about their annual car show, but hopes to have a decision soon.

The Elko Chili Feed is on hold for now until the Elko Association has time to determine how best to move forward after their great loss. I believe most of you have heard about the passing of Les Brown aka “Sgt Grumpy” Director of the Elko POW*MIA Awareness Association and leader of the Sergeant at Arms team for the National League of POW/MIA Families meeting in Washington D.C. Our condolences go to Gracie, his family, and the Elko POW*MIA Awareness Association. He will be missed!

The next event that is scheduled for our Association is a new event. We are calling it Retire with Respect. We will be retiring worn and tattered U.S. flags. Please join us on Saturday, February 13th at the North Bannock Fire Department, 444 E. Chubbuck Road, at 2:00pm to retire Old Glory with respect. Please be on the look out for worn and tattered flags in your neighborhood. Steve Shryock has agreed to pick up flags. Contact Steve at 208-241-9171. To help facilitate this discussion with your neighbor, we have created a handout and posted it below.

Thank you to Deanne Coffin at KPVI News Channel 6 for the news story about Retire with Respect.

Thanks for all you do,

Brandon Bennett, Director

POW*MIA Awareness Rally Association – Pocatello