Service members celebrated in Abilene during Armed Forces Day


ABILENE, Texas - Armed Forces Day celebrations were held in a variety of ways throughout Abilene Saturday.

The Abilene Zoo welcomed military members, both active and retired, and their families for its annual "Zoolute to Dyess" event. Free admission was given with a military ID. It started with an honor ceremony for military service members, but the activities rolled on through the park for kids and family members.

The Center for Contemporary Arts held a benefit fair in downtown Abilene, and more than 20 agencies were on-hand to explain what benefits veterans and their families might qualify for.

Plenty of businesses also joined the celebration downtown, offering discounts on services or displaying art.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to bring agencies that provide services to veterans and family members together under one roof and hopefully get the veterans in the community … to learn about things for them," said Larry Denton with the West Texas Veterans Commission.

Camp Barkley was also remembered alongside service members with a presentation.

But the day's events started earlier at Red Bud Park.

Jennifer C. Hunter, who served two tours with the U.S. Army in Iraq and Kuwait, was honored with a memorial 5K Saturday morning. The Abilene native passed away from cancer last June.

The 5K Warrior Oorah and Family Fun Run coincided with Armed Forces Day celebrations. Proceeds from the event will help pay for guest benches at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery.