Members of the Snake River Correctional Institution color guard lead the way during the Veterans Day parade last year in Ontario. There will be no Veterans Day parade this year, but four local organizations will hold an event at Four Rivers Cultural Center to honor veterans with a free cup of coffee. (The Enterprise/file).

ONTARIO – If you are a veteran and want a free cup of coffee, head for Four Rivers Cultural Center on Veterans Day – Wednesday, Nov. 11.

From 1 to 3 p.m., Heart n’ Home Hospice, Assisting Hands Home Care and Brookdale Senior Living will sponsor the “Thanks a Latte Veterans” event in the cultural center parking lot at 676 S.W. 5th Ave. in Ontario.

“We can’t make the event huge but it will be a little something to show our appreciation,” said Jamie Taylor, who is spearheading the effort for Heart n’ Home Hospice.

Tower House Coffee in Ontario will provide the coffee, said Taylor, and any veteran is encouraged to participate.

The event will be drive-thru style so that veterans don’t have to get out of their cars and social distancing measures will be in place, said Taylor.

“We keep our masks on and they keep their masks on,” said Taylor.

Besides coffee, each veteran will receive a bag that will include candy, T-shirts, lip balm, Band-Aids and other knick-knacks, said Taylor.

Each car will follow a short route through the parking lot and from a distance visit booths sponsored by Heart n’ Home Hospice, Assisting Hands Home Care, Brookdale Senior Living and Tower House Coffee.

“This will be an easy way if family members and friends want to drive them down and give them something that shows we appreciate everything they’ve done for us,” said Taylor.

The social distancing event is especially poignant this year, said Taylor, because of Covid and because the annual Ontario Veterans Day Parade was canceled.

“I am excited to be doing it. We’ve got to do something,” said Taylor.

The Fruitland High School band will play patriotic music during the event, said Taylor.

Taylor said the event is “near and dear” to her heart because several of her family members are veterans.

Shawn Perdue, sales manager for Brooke Dale Senior Living, said the event is the right thing to do.

“We have numerous employees who are veterans and a number of residents who are veterans. Not being able to celebrate our veterans who allowed us to be free is kind of an atrocity. Veterans Day should never go uncelebrated,” said Perdue.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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