ALTON/GODFREY - Local veterans and their families are invited to an appreciation breakfast in commemoration of Veterans Day.

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This is the sixth annual Veterans Day Appreciation Breakfast. From 8–10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, veterans and family members can enjoy a free breakfast and presentations at Best Western Premier, located at 3559 College Avenue in Alton.

“[It’s about] honoring them, what they’ve done for us and for our freedoms and for the country,” said Jim Claywell, owner of Claywell Asset Management and organizer of the event. “The more veterans and their families we can honor, the better this event is.”

Volunteers will start serving breakfast at 8 a.m. on Nov. 11, and then a veteran will share their story while attendees eat. Local performers The Gibson Girls plan to dress in Army attire and sing war songs, which Claywell said is “pretty moving,” especially when the veterans join in.

“When you see it happen in person, it is rather goosebumpy, if you will,” he said. “It’s very moving and fitting and that’s why we do it, to make a difference in people’s lives that made a difference in our lives.”

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The idea for the appreciation breakfast came from Terri Schneider, a financial advisor, who proposed it as a way for Claywell Asset Management to give back to the community. They had over 200 people attend last November and hope to hit 250 attendees this year.

This number includes veterans and their family members, who are encouraged to spread the word to other military families in the Riverbend region. Claywell noted that family members deserve appreciation for their sacrifices too, and the breakfast aims to be a positive morning for these families, who often have many other events to attend throughout the day on Veterans Day.

“When we set out to do this, we realized that it’s not just the veterans who are the veterans. It’s their family members, if you really think about it,” Claywell said. “Those who went to war on distant lands, their families were behind and their families supported them from afar. So in many ways, they were supporting and serving the country by taking care of things at home while their loved ones were fighting for our freedoms.”

Claywell Asset Management will host the event with sponsors Roberts Motors, Gent Funeral Home, First Mid Bank & Trust, American Family Insurance, MillerKing Attorneys at Law and the North Alton-Godfrey Business Council. Other businesses who want to provide financial support or inquire about sponsorship for next year’s breakfast can contact Claywell Asset Management.

“I think it is important for us to reinvest back into the community as business owners,” Claywell added. “I’m grateful for all the support of all the other businesses that feel the same way.”

If you plan to attend the Veterans Day Appreciation Breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, you are asked to RSVP by Nov. 3 by calling 618-433-8881 or emailing casta.zippmann@raymondjames.com. All veterans and family members are welcome.

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