DeLand and Deltona celebrate Memorial Day
DeLand named a pavilion at Bill Dreggors Park “The West/Friend Pavilion,” after Jim West and Dan Friend, both DeLand natives who have dedicated their lives to advocating for military veterans.
Friend was instrumental in raising funds for the pavilion and is one of the lead organizers of veterans events in DeLand such as the Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies held annually at the park. He is also military curator for the DeLand Memorial Hospital & Veterans Museum located at Bill Dreggors Park. Jim West sold the bricks for the pathway to the pavilion and also maintains the flowers and plants at the pavilion.
The City of DeLand Fire Department Honor Guard presented the colors and the U.S. Marine Corps League Detachment 1144 conducted a rifle salute in honor of fallen soldiers.
Low-key ceremonies at Veterans Memorial Park marked Memorial Day in Deltona, as a small crow gathered to honor Americans who died in service to the nation and for the freedoms its citizens enjoy.
Approximately 100 gathered at the park for the holiday program that previously took place at Deltona Memorial Gardens cemetery in Orange City.
“Memorial Day is not just another holiday. Nor is it just another day off for government employees, or sales, or an excuse to celebrate with a picnic,” Veterans Community Education Partnership Chairman Mick Cotten told the crowd.
The Veterans Community Education Partnership, also known as “V-CEP,” for short — began as the Southwest Volusia Veterans Council and grew to include other organizations interested in arranging patriotic programs and operating the museum at the city’s park.
Photos by Marsha McLaughlin and Al Everson