Crestview residents recognized for World War II commemoration efforts

Brian Hughes | Special to the News Bulletin

CRESTVIEW — Several Crestview residents were recognized for their efforts in producing the city’s World War II Victory 75th Anniversary Commemoration that was held at the end of August.

Mayor JB Whitten describes the excellence of Mary Richard’s cuisine as he recognizes her contributions to Crestview’s World War II Commemoration.

At a recent City Council meeting, Mayor JB Whitten presided over the distribution of expressions of appreciation. These included certificates, the mayoral challenge coin, but most importantly, his sincere thanks for putting the event together under the unusual circumstances of a pandemic not foreseen when the historic milestone’s commemoration was first envisioned in December 2019.

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In addition to the Crestview Area Sister City Program, the commemoration’s sponsoring community organization, Whitten recognized the following:

Dorothy Buress: Representative of Hashtag Swing, the 15-piece big band that performed pro bono at the Victory Ball, the commemoration’s closing gala.

Pam and Joe Coffield: Leaders of the Sister City Program and instrumental in organizing preparations, set-ups, take-downs, and making props and decorations.

Jenna Cyrus and the Sister City Ambassadors: President of the student Sister City club at Crestview High School, which ran the Stage Door Canteen snack bar and provided set-up, take-down and serving services for the Victory Ball.

Brian Hughes: President of the Sister City Program and overall event planner and designer, including designing signage, graphics and print collateral.

Mary Richard: The primary organizer of the Victory Ball gala, chef for the ball’s cuisine, and one of the event’s overall decorators.

Pam Coffield presents an appreciative French smooch on Mayor JB Whitten’s cheek after he recognized her many contributions to the success of the city’s World War II commemoration
Joe Coffield shares a laugh with Crestview Mayor JB Whitten as the latter describes his contributions toward the success of Crestview’s World War II Commemoration in a recent ceremony in Crestview.

Preparations for the Aug. 28 and 29 commemoration started in July with a meeting to create the centerpieces for the Victory Ball tables; extensive research and design of visual graphics — funded by a grant from the Hsu Educational Foundation. Volunteers then switched to full-time mode with two days of set-ups Aug. 26 and 27.

“Some visitors arrived early, hours in advance of the event’s 3 p.m. official start, and got to see the controlled chaos of the set-ups,” Whitten said. “One lady who arrived early actually pitched in to help one of the exhibitors set up his display. That’s how excited people were about this event.”

Crestview Mayor JB Whitten praises Crestview High School student Jenna Cyrus, president of the Sister City Ambassadors club, for the group’s operation of the World War II commemoration snack bar.
Dorothy Buress listens as Crestview Mayor JB Whitten describes how delighted the crowd at the Victory Ball was with her Hashtag Swing orchestra’s performance at the World War II Commemoration gala.

The World War II Victory Commemoration was the largest of the Mayor’s Cultural Series programs and the Victory Ball was the city’s first social soirée this year. An estimated 750 people attended the indoor and outdoor exhibits, films and opening ceremony, and 75 tickets were sold for the gala, raising an estimated $2,700 for the Sister City Program’s student travel fellowship program.

Except for some city staff services, the entire event was funded through local business and individual donations.