by Sharlene Irete
It was SRO at the USO Veterans Day celebration at the Douglas County Senior Center on Monday.
This is the ninth year the senior center honored men and women who served in the Armed Forces with entertainment and a fried chicken lunch. About 120 guests listened to swing jazz standards "Take the A Train," "Tuxedo Junction" and "Woodchopper's Ball" played by the Douglas High School jazz band under the direction of Bill Zabelsky.
A flag presentation was made by Carson Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8583 and speakers at the event included Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini as master of ceremonies, Chief Master Sgt. Ken Gray of the Nevada Air Guard, Lionel Motta, adjutant of the American Legion Department of Nevada.
Minden resident Edwina Lueck swayed as the jazz band played Count Basie's "Two O'Clock Jump." She danced to music of that era when she volunteered for the USO in Lakehurst, N.J., during World War II.
"I'm the only one here who was a USO girl," Lueck said. "I met my husband at the USO."
The United Service Organizations was created during World War II in answer to President Franklin Roosevelt's suggestion to support the troops by boosting their morale.
Lueck said her job as a USO girl was to serve coffee and food and to entertain the soldiers.
"Mainly we listened to music and danced with them," she said. "We were supposed to dance with everyone, but if you were naughty and didn't want to dance with someone, then you had to serve them.
"Leonard taught me a California dance, the Balboa, because I didn't know how to do it," she said about her husband.
Leonard Lueck, 86, was proud to say he was a Navy man and that he and Edwina had been married 64 years.
"We've been coming to the senior center for 15 years," he said. "Every Veterans Day they have fried chicken."
"And apple pie a la mode," said Armand Castro, who served in the Army in Alaska during the Korean War. "The senior center does this every year " this is great."