LAURINBURG —There are a number events planned to celebrate Veterans Day next week, including a speech by a decorated serviceman who hails from Laurinburg.
Local events in Scotland County will kick off Wednesday with a Veterans Day breakfast at 8 a.m. at Bright Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church located on 601 North Main St.
The Golden Corral will also host a Military Appreciation Day celebration Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. where service members eat for free.
The Scotland County Veterans Council is also planning a Veterans Day Ceremony next Wednesday at the Legion Park on Atkinson Street at 11 a.m. In the case of inclement weather, the Veterans Day ceremony will be moved to the National Guard Armory located on South Main Street.
This year’s keynote speaker for the ceremony is Army Reserve Command Sgt. Major Luther Thomas, Jr.
Thomas is a native of Laurinburg and graduated from Scotland High School in 1984. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Army and completed Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Thomas earned an associate’s degree from Midlands Technical College, a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina State University, a Master’s Degree from Trident University International and is a graduate of the Senior Leaders Course from George Washington University.
Currently he lives in Fort Myer,Virginia with his wife Deloris Wheeler of Mayesville, South Carolina and their 13-year-old daughter Sarah.
Thomas also serves as the Chief of Army Reserve’s personal advisor on all enlisted related matters. He advises the Chief of Army Reserve and Senior Army and Civilian Leadership on current policies, regulations and directives pertaining to the management of 205,000 Army Reserve Soldiers.
The soldiers are advised on proper utilization of personnel, quality of life, personal and organizational equipment and uniforms. He also guides current and future development of the Army Reserve enlisted force and serves as an advisor to the Sergeant Major of the Army on Army Reserve enlisted matters.
Throughout his military career, Thomas has served numerous active duty and reserve component assignments. He has served on Task Force Katrina and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I, Operation Enduring Freedom VII and VIII.
Thomas’ awards and decorations include two Legions of Merit, Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, six Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, six Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals, National Defense Medal with Bronze Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Silver Hourglass devices, Non-Commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service, two Overseas Ribbons, NATO Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and the Drill Sergeant Badge.