“Veterans, attention!” Cayman Islands Veterans Association President Andrew McLaughlin said as Governor Helen Kilpatrick walked into the lobby of the Government Administration Building on Tuesday morning.
The group of veterans snapped a brisk salute to Ms. Kilpatrick as U.S. Marine Corps veteran Shadden McLaughlin reached for a poppy pin.
“On behalf of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association, we thank you for being our patron,” said Ms. McLaughlin as she pinned the poppy on the governor’s lapel.
With Ms. Kilpatrick leaving office next year, 2017 is her last year as the Veterans Association patron.
Mr. McLaughlin said she was the best patron the 54-year-old vet has seen.
“Our patron has been a great patron. Of all the patrons we’ve had, she’s given us the most of her time,” he said. “She came and sang with us at our Christmas party, and she’s been at the gala when we’ve invited her.”
Ms. Kilpatrick said she always is happy to participate in the Poppy Appeal and other events that provide assistance to the veterans, who hail from roughly 12 countries, including Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Germany, according to Mr. McLaughlin.
“It’s a brilliant chance to remember everyone who served their countries, and it’s great for children. And, of course, all of the money in the Poppy Appeal goes to support veterans, many of whom are still suffering many years after they served,” he said.
The ceremonial pinning kicked off the Veterans Association’s annual Poppy Appeal, where people can make donations to the group and receive poppy pins through Remembrance Day on Nov. 13.
All proceeds will stay in Cayman to go toward helping aging vets who live here, said Mr. McLaughlin.
With the average age of Veterans Association members being well over 70, Cayman vets need all the help they can get, he said.
Unfortunately, “We’ve had people say that they helped us in the past but can’t help this year because of the hurricane relief efforts,” he said. “But help has to start at home.”
To that end, he said, the annual fundraising gala will be held on Oct. 21 at the Marriott Beach Resort, and that tickets are still available by calling 926-5189.