Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 27, 2013

Veterans to gather at eatery on Friday

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — With no plans for anything formal, a pair of local military veterans have adopted a mission to bring others who’ve served their country together for coffee and conversation one morning each month.

Jim Fields, who served in the Air Force from 1969 to 1973 and later retired from the Reserve, said he and Navy veteran Wayne Davison, who served aboard submarines, agreed an informal gathering of area veterans once a month would be a good thing.

Fields explained Davison often stopped by The Lamp Post Cafe at the corner of 16th Street and Greenup Avenue while his wife was in the hospital, and the two soon concluded they would enjoy spending some time with others who have a military background. Davison said he remembered a different restaurant on the corner, although he was pleased to find himself among fellow veterans.

“We all got chatting and we all just sat around and had a good time,” Davison said, later adding he is aware that many of the nation’s veterans, especially younger ones, are having difficulties after they return to civilian life. “I know there’s many veterans who are kind of lost.”

Fields and Davison emphasize they hope to greet veterans of all types, regardless of when, where or how they served.  

“There’s a few of us trying to get together. Our World War II vets ... they’re almost gone, and the guys who were in Korea are getting up there, too,” Fields said, noting they had bad weather last month and hope to see a few new faces when they get together at 9 a.m. Friday at the restaurant.

“We’re kind of hoping it will pick up in the spring,” Fields said, later adding he wants to convince someone at the eatery to offer a special on coffee during the informal gatherings. “Right now it is buy your own, and some of them will have breakfast.”

Fields emphasized the meetings will not have any agenda, although he believes it will be a good place for veterans to get firsthand information about resources, including VA benefits.

“We’re just kind of meeting for coffee. We don’t know where it’s going to go,” he said, adding an invitation to members of local clubs such as the VFW and American Legion to attend Friday’s meeting to share information about those organizations.

Fields also hopes to welcome younger veterans as well as women who have served.

“This is not just for retired, active-duty people,” he said. “We’re interested in Guard and Reserve and everybody. There’s a lot of women veterans today and they are quiet! Where are the ladies? They did a good job, too, and I know they’re out there.”

For more information, call Fields at (606) 836-2353.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.