Serving those who served to celebrate Memorial Day weekend

So I am trying something new for Memorial Day weekend this year. The past few have been a bummer for me. As some readers know (and are probably sick of hearing), my oldest and dearest confidante passed away four years ago following an accident on Memorial Day weekend.

Cobby was a proud Navy man, serving in Korea and Vietnam. I treasured our time together on Memorial Day weekend. The holiday grew more emotionally challenging for him as he got older, and I loved supporting him during our conversations in-between and around all the events he attended as a member of his legion hall.

Cobby was well-known around central Maine for his love of laughter, so it was an incredible honor that he shared his tears with me. And it was a bigger honor to be a part of turning those tears back into laughter through the power of friendship. I’m including the following song as a soundtrack to this post because it reminds me of listening to his war stories.


I’ve said it over a thousand times to myself and the air by now, and I’m guessing I’ll say it at least a thousand more, but, I miss you old man.

This year, though, I have something very productive to do with my grief. On Saturday afternoon I am going to be volunteering at a free barbecue for veterans in Winthrop. The event is being co-hosted by New England Veterans Alliance and Homegrown Healthcare Alternative Wellness, Apothecary and Learning Center.

I had a chance to volunteer at a veterans event at the same location earlier this year, and I had a terrific time. When the opportunity arose to volunteer this weekend, I jumped at the chance.

NEVA is an advocacy and support organization for veterans. One of their primary focuses is advocating for veteran access to medical marijuana as an alternative to the powerful medications used to treat their conditions.

Many veterans, after surviving the challenges of their service, return to civilian life to face the side effects and/or addictions linked to traditional pharmacological interventions. 

I think part of what made my last volunteering experience so powerful was just how gracious the attending veterans were. Men and women who had served our country far and wide expressed the utmost gratitude for even the smallest gesture. The selfless nature of their character shined, even as they were receiving rather than serving.

It was a pleasure to serve those who serve, and I am very much looking forward to doing so again. It’s like being surrounded by the next generation of Cobby’s, and it’s an honor.

If anyone is interested, the meet and greet part of the barbecue starts at 3:00pm Saturday, and any veterans are welcome. If anyone would like to make a last minute food donation or would like more information about the event, please call 207-395-5447.

Sylvester Cobbs – Family photo

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.