PIEDMONT, Oklahoma - It was a day of celebration in Piedmont Saturday, as the community opened the new Piedmont Veterans Event Center, as well as honored five deserving men and women.

The Piedmont Area Veterans Association, a non-profit organization, was established in 2012. They quickly began to expand in number, and the group became too large for where they were meeting once a month.

“We outgrew that building. So, we needed a bigger one. And I just came up with the idea,” said Hoss Cooley, president of Piedmont Area Veterans Association.

They began brainstorming, and with many helping hands, the Piedmont Veterans Event Center came to life.

“The entire community has stepped up, helped us. All my suppliers, when I told them what I was doing, donated material, free,” said Cooley.

The addition of this event center will allow the PAVA organization to grow, as well as offer the Piedmont community a facility that can be rented out for different occasions.

“This building is just a piece of metal and wood and stuff like that. But it's the people, the community that makes this happen,” CMSGT, U.S. Air Force, (Retired), John Bickerstaff said.

Along with the celebration of the new facility, five local veterans were honored today with "Quilts of Valor".

Honored:

George Fina, United States Navy Veteran.  Mr. Fina left for boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois just prior to Christmas 1957.  Following boot camp was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia where he served aboard the USS Crow and Wren, Destroyer Escorts.  Mr. Fina took part in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.  Following his Navy service Mr. Fina joined the Oklahoma City Fire Department and later served as Mayor of Piedmont.

Amanda L. Henry, Major, United States Air Force.  Following graduation from Piedmont High School, Major Henry attended Oklahoma State University and was commissioned into the U. S. Air Force in 2007.  Major Henry has deployed twice in support of the Global War on Terror serving in both Qatar and United Arab Emirates.  Major Henry is currently serving as the Deputy Director of the 72nd Force Support Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base.   

John Bickerstaff, CMSGT, United States Air Force, (Retired).  CMSGT Bickerstaff’s career spanned 30 years including service during the Cuban Missile Crisis as well as serving a tour in Vietnam.  CMSGT Bickerstaff managed the largest Radar Approach Control and served on the United States Air Force, Europe (USAFE) Inspector General Team while stationed in Germany.

Will G. Wyatt, Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy.  LTCMDR Wyatt joined the Navy during his senior year of Medical School at the University of Oklahoma.  After his enlistment he served in Portsmouth, Virginia, U. S. Naval Hospital at Jacksonville, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas.  Dr. Wyatt served aboard the USS Saratoga, CVA-60 during the Vietnam War.  After resigning his commission in 1974, Doctor Wyatt returned to Oklahoma where he has practiced medicine since.

Leon H. Meyer, MSGT, United States Air Force, (Retired).  MSGT Meyer, joined the U. S. Air Force in November 1968.  MSGT Meyer served in five major Vietnam battle campaigns while stationed in Thailand in 1971 thru 1974.  Following assignments to Nevada, Guam, and Missouri he was assigned to Ramstein AFB, Germany as a NATO Munitions Advisor.  MSGT Meyer retired from the Air Force September 30, 1991.

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans, touched by war, with comfort and healing.

The quilts awarded today were handmade by 14 local women, who will also meet at the Piedmont Veterans Event Center, to continue their craft of providing well-deserving veterans with Quilts of Valor.

U.S. Representative Frank Lucas, and State Senator Stephanie Bice, along with several of our nation's heroes, were also in attendance.