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Tri-State veterans treated to annual picnic

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Ron Wroblewski has been organizing the annual picnic for Tri-State veterans for five years.

The event on Saturday drew a crowd to Harris Riverfront Park, despite the torrential rain that occurred around noon.

Wroblewski, a Vietnam veteran who serves as president of both the Vietnam Veterans of America and the West Virginia Marine Corps Coordinating Council, said the event has grown each year since its inception, with last year’s drawing about 750 people to the park.

Active duty personnel and veterans were treated to a free meal, entertainment from Huntington band Blue Country and a chance to win door prizes in a raffle, while getting a chance to see antique cars and displays of military equipment and weapons.

Also on hand were booths from groups catering to veterans, such as the Honor Flight, which takes veterans to the military memorials in Washington D.C., and Volunteers of America, which provides assistance to homeless veterans or those facing eviction, as well as additional support services.

“It’s a great program,” Tim Blake, the project manager said. “It’s VA funded. It’s one President and Michelle Obama’s top priorities.”

In the afternoon, Wroblewski got a surprise, as he was honored for his efforts.

The veterans organizations at the event presented him with plaques, honoring him with the Lifetime Achievement Distinguished Veteran Award.

Representatives from West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office, along with Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, read a proclamation honoring Wroblewski, while the crowd saluted him and the Marine Hymn was played.

“He works so much, day in and day out, for veterans,” Cheryl Wroblewski, his wife, said. “It’s his passion.”