Laurel Bay to host military appreciation day Saturday

Responsible for injecting more than $1 billion into the local economy, area servicemembers will be honored today for their many contributions to the Beaufort area.

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual Military Appreciation Day is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at Laurel Bay. Active, reserve and retired military and their families are invited to come to the park for free hot dogs and hamburgers, carnival games and live music, according to the chamber. Showing ID won't be necessary.The event is only a small token of appreciation for the work done by the area's active-duty, reserve and retired military personnel, said Carlotta Ungaro, president and CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"These service members and their families are making the greatest sacrifice of all for their country," Ungaro said. "Here locally, the military represents a huge economic impact for our area."

The Marines and sailors stationed in Beaufort feel a similar affinity for their adopted home, said Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, spokeswoman for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

"With the intense schedule our drill instructors, support staff and Navy team keep to transform nearly 21,000 young men and women into Marines each year, sometimes we are not always able to see how much the community appreciates what we do," she said. "This Chamber-sponsored event is just one great example."

The event traditionallyhad been held in May but was postponed this year because it fell on the same weekend as the Beaufort Air Show, according to the chamber.