TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Veterans Day is a time for people across the United States to honor and thank those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Services happened across the country today including some special ones right here in our neighborhood.

While Veterans Day is a time to look back and thank our service members for what they've done, others in our area were looking towards the future
to honor their selfless service.

"I come out here just to honor those that came before us and have fought for our freedoms," said Lance Damask, a member of the Sea Cadet Corps.

Lance hopes to one day enter into military service. Friday, he and his fellow sea cadets along with local boy scouts took time to honor those who served before them. They held a special service to kickoff the 16th annual "Operation Respect."

The free program retires old American Flags per the U.S. flag code. Since it began in 2001 they have properly disposed of more than 47,000 flags.

Officials say including the younger generation is important during Veterans Day.

"So many people think that the young folks don't have any appreciation for what is coming up," explained Lieutenant Colonel Jim Nowak of the Ohio Military Reserve. "Tonight we are here to show the veterans that these young people are ready to step up. They are very serious; they understand what America is about and they are going to show their respect to the flag and to the service that these veterans have given them."

Others took the opportunity to use the day to fund raise for homeless Veterans. Seven local exchange clubs partnered with Veterans Matter to raise money through a chili cook-off, bake sale, and silent auction.

"We're here specifically to raise money to get these veterans into permanent housing," said Tracey Edwards, executive vice president and CEO of the National Exchange Club. "There are a lot of temporary solutions out there, but there is nothing like having a home."

Edwards said events like this are happening across the country through the National Exchange Club.

Last year they raised over $55,000 nationwide and this year they plan to double that.

The Toledo area clubs put together a night of entertainment complete with a presentation of the colors by the color guard and boy scouts and even a military themed tap dance routine.

While the night was full of chili and fun it was all to honor the service of our veterans and help them into the future.

"They served and sacrificed for us so this is just a small way that we can give back to them," said Edwards.

"Operation Respect" is collecting faded, torn or otherwise unserviceable American flags Saturday, November 12th from 9:00am to 5:00pm and
Sunday, November 13th from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Collections will be taken at the Anderson's on Talmadge and Monroe Street and Illinois Avenue in Maumee.

If you would like to learn more about the National Exchange Club you can click here, or about their partner Veterans Matter click here.

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