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Veterans Day Tea attracts young and old
As the Porterville Veterans Parade came to a close Monday, numerous veterans and guests made their way to the historical Women’s Club on E Street with one purpose in mind — to visit and reminisce with old friends.
The Veterans Day Tea, originally known as the Old Timer’s Tea, is a traditional gathering to honor military veterans and their families. It is an opportunity for veterans and old pioneers of the city to see old friends and talk about the old times.
Attending the tea for the first time were several veterans of U.S. Marines and Army, all members of Terra Bella American Legion Post 779, who sat at one table, visiting and laughing.
“Its an annual invitation and we’ve never come. They always support the veterans and this year, we thought we’d return the favor and show them support,” said Commander Saul Ortiz,
Past Commander Ed Patino said he’s been attending the Tea for four years and at the last Post 779 meeting, suggested the group attend this year.
“It’s a wonderful sign of respect,” said Cesar Hernandez, another U.S. Army veteran. “These ladies take the time to do all this to show their support. It’s really something.”
Across the room, laughing at another table were Les Doyel, U.S. Army Signal Corps., and his sister-in-law Norma Doyel.
Les Doyel, 87, parked his car at the club house, walked to Morton Street, and walked the entire parade route, before back tracking to the Tea.
“It’s something I love doing and as long as I have legs, I will continue to do this. This is a wonderful thing they have here,” he said. “I’ve been coming here for five years. I figured I was finally getting old and it was time to join the ‘Old Timers’ at the tea. It’s a great time to renew old acquaintances. You will find me coming here every time I can.”
Norma Doyel, who was married to Les Doyel’s brother, said she is a local product of Porterville’s founding fathers and has been attending the tea since 1942.
Known as the ‘go to girl’ or the ‘girl with all the stories and answers,’ Norma Doyel said she loves visiting with friends and finding out what everyone has been up to.
At another table, Gloria MaComber and Luella Chase had the same idea. The two friends, members of First United Methodist, have known each other for more than 50 years and have been attending for an approximate 10 years. They visited and laughed as they shared stories. Both of their husbands, now deceased, served in World War II.
“I have one friend I’ve known for 74 years. She lives in Springville and I only see her once a year — here,” Chase said.
The Veterans Day Tea is a tradition that has continued to be popular year after year, said co-chair Charlene Woods.
“People just know it’s happening and start coming over after the parade. The weather is beautiful this year and that will give us a nice turnout,” Woods said. “Our veterans need this recognition more than anybody else. If it’s not for our veterans, we wouldn’t be here.”
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.