Tomorrow it's veterans -- today those who serve them

West Richland does a remarkable job in lots of areas. It's a little community with a lot of patriotic pride. Last week the community presented its annual Veterans Day parade.

Far bigger cities can't even muster enough enthusiasm to hold a Veterans Day parade, and yet West Richland can come up with 100 entries.

And it's not just the parade that makes West Richland special, although the parade is wonderful.

At the end of September, the community honored fallen soldiers with A Time of Remembrance. This was a time for families to gather, grieve and celebrate with each other.

And to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist assault on America, a West Richland Cub Scout pack created an avenue of 2,977 American flags -- one for each person who died in the attacks on 9/11 -- along one of the city's busiest streets.

Tomorrow this space will be dedicated to honoring our veterans. Today we honor a community that honors our veterans.

Veterans get hero's welcome

Highlands Middle School brought vets to school this week for an assembly, and afterward the vets visited classrooms.

It's a neat chance for the kids to rub shoulders and shake hands with those who have served.

And nearly every school in the Mid-Columbia has a similar event this week, from kindergarten to university classes.

Many of the service clubs are having special programs this week.

There is an appreciation dinner at the Elks Lodge in Kennewick and a special breakfast in Hermiston.

A list in Monday's paper and at tricityherald.com showed a week's worth of activities, and we're pretty sure there are more we just don't know about.

On many fronts, this is a community that appreciates those who are willing to serve.

Camp Patriot wins big donation

One organization that specializes in serving veterans year-round is Camp Patriot.

The nonprofit provides disabled veterans with outdoor recreational opportunities -- many of which are complex and costly.

Founder Micah Clark helps between 50 and 100 vets each year participate in activities like climb mountain climbing or flying gliders.

The service Camp Patriot provides is valuable (and expensive) so the $100,000 grant it got this week from the Sportsgrants Foundation will help provide more experiences for more vets.

Clark plans to put half of it toward a lodge in Montana as a base to serve his clients.

Library food drive

Voracious readers can devour a book in one sitting. Patrons of the Mid-Columbia Libraries should never have to hunger for something to read.

Unfortunately, there are those in the Mid-Columbia who hungry for something to eat, however.

We're happy to see that for the next six weeks the library is combining two of our favorite activities -- reading and eating -- in a way that combats hunger.

Anyone owing fines to the Mid-Columbia Libraries can pay up to $10 of the fee with canned food. If you don't have fines, congratulations but you can still donate food.

As a dessert, the libraries are presenting two food-related programs.

Author Fanae Aaron will share ideas on children's palates (aka picky eaters) and Liz Edmunds, star of the reality show The Food Nanny, will talk about family meals on a budget.

Readers donated 4,000 pounds of food last year. We predict even more this year.

Mid-Columbians are well read and notoriously generous.