Operation Firm Handshake draws crowd of 1,150

Event marks its eighth year

COAL CITY – Sept. 11 marked the eighth Operation Firm Hand Shake veterans and family event held at the Coal City Area Club’s 1,300-acre outdoor venue. Max Valdez, founder and event organizer, set attendance at 1,150 veterans and family members.

Last year’s event was canceled because of health concerns, but this year, it was back with food, beverages, music, door prizes for adults and Santa Claus, who had presents for the children.

St Juvin VFW Post 1336, a supporter of this event since its inception, was in attendance with their information tent and free U.S. flag raffle. This year’s flag was won by Dan Havel of Morris.

St. Juvin post uses this event to recruit new members, and to publicize its veterans and community service projects.