St. Mary’s, Star of the Sea Catholic Church went all out for its veterans on Friday. Members of the men’s club hired a DJ and circus performer and organized a parade and helicopter ball drop.
The guest of honor was 97-year-old Bill Kelley. Kelley has lived on Longboat Key for over 30 years and served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman during World War II.
Kelley walked Omaha Beach after D-Day retrieving the wounded, and he was honored for the hero he is by all in attendance. Guests approached the golf cart eager to shake his hand and thank him for his service. The other veterans walked behind him during the parade.
Patriotic music boomed from the DJ David Turner’s speakers. Circus performer Aaron Watkins dressed as Uncle Sam and entertained the crowd from stilts waving an American flag.
Tables lined the driveway, and church members enjoyed a drive-in potluck dinner and a helicopter show. A miniature golf course was set up for a hole in one. The 50/50 raffle raised money for victims of Hurricane Ian.