Hundreds attend veterans cookout held at Jan Dils law office

PARKERSBURG – Nearly 200 people attended a Friday cookout held at an attorney’s office in downtown Parkersburg to honor veterans for Veterans Day on Monday.

Among those attending the cookout at the office of Jan Dils Attorneys at Law were nearly 70 veterans, said Jonathan Corra, social media specialist/Veterans Affairs lead specialist at the law office at 963 Market St.

Friday’s event was the second cookout held by the law office in honor of Veterans Day and overall attendance was nearly double that of the 2012 event, Corra said.

The cookout was held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday in the law office’s parking lot. Veterans ate for free while all others paid $5 for the meal.

The event started last year as a way to kick off the holiday weekend that culminates Monday with Veterans Day. Corra said there are many area events planned for the holiday for veterans to participate in, so the Dils office started the cookout as a way to expand offerings for veterans over more days.

“We like to make it more a weekend-long celebration,” he said.

“This way, veterans can enjoy the parade on Monday and get a free meal from us today as well,” he said.

Corra said proceeds from Friday’s cookout will go to the Walk 4 Vets Foundation created by Jan Dils Attorneys at Law. The office organized the Walk 4 Vets at City Park in 2011 and 2012 and will be holding its next walk in November 2014, with a walk, entertainment and activities for veterans and their families.

“What we do is raise money for local veterans charities,” he said.

Friday’s event was well received by the veterans in attendance. Donald Petry, of Belpre, was attending the cookout at the Jan Dils office for the first time.

“I thought I would see what everyone was doing for the veterans and maybe eat a bite,” he said, adding he hopes to return next year.

“It’s nice, it really is,” Petry said.

John Moore of Parkersburg returned for a second year to the cookout. He enjoyed the opportunity last year and this to come together with other veterans and friends to talk and enjoy a nice day together. He has also participated in the Walk 4 Vets and was appreciative of the support for veterans shown by the business.

His brother, Fred Moore, also of Parkersburg, was attending the cookout Friday for the first time. He usually attends the parades and ceremonies on Veterans Day and appreciated the work put in by the organizers of the cookout, along with the strong support from the community.

“There’s a lot of local businesses that do it and I’m sure there’s going to be more as it goes along, which is nice. It makes it nice for the veterans and they appreciate it,” he said of the community support for local veterans.