- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27—It shouldn’t take a national holiday to honor our country’s soldiers and fallen warriors.

That’s why evangelist Randy Crum of Vision Ministries of Lawrence County is organizing the “All Day Praise at Cascade” and “Fallen Warrior Tribute and Motorcycle Run” at Cascade Park on Aug. 8 and 9. The two-day event is aimed at recognizing military men and women, and offering praise to God for their service to their country.

“Our goal is to recognize the Lord Jesus Christ; that he’s involved in the military and the world,” said Crum, who also serves as pastor of Wayside Emmanuel Church in Neshannock. “We remain free because he allows us to remain free. We want to pay tribute to the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice and keep us free to worship.”

Crum said this is the third year Vision Ministries has held the event, which he said continues to grow because of the interest people have in supporting local servicemen and women. It is the first year it is being held at the New Castle park.

The event begins Saturday with a prayer vigil at 9 a.m., followed by water baptisms in the creek at 11 a.m.

“All pastors are welcome to bring out people that they want to baptize here,” Crum said.

Throughout the afternoon, food vendors will be available and family activities will be offered, such as face painting, balloon animals and other crafts.

The 3Sixteen Praise band and other special musical guests will provide entertainment, including during the crusade, which will be held at 4 p.m. in the Cascade Park Dance Hall.

“God’s given us great things and we’re going to do some praising,” Crum said. “We’re gonna keep this crusade on a praise note.”

Visitors will gather in the dance hall again Sunday morning for a 9:30 church service.

Registration for the motorcycle run is from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the train station. The cost is $15 for one rider and $10 for a passenger. Individuals with a military ID receive a $5 discount.

The ride, led by emergency vehicles, will leave the park at 2 p.m., and will wind through New Castle and Neshannock, Hickory and Slippery Rock townships.

A final salute to America’s soldiers will be held at the dance hall at 6:15 p.m., and will include remarks from state Rep. Chris Sainato, a presentation to the Butler-based It’s About the Warriors Foundation, bagpipes, music by the Lawrence County Brass Band and patriotic singing.

The Rev. Jarod Mills, brother of Staff Sgt. Edward D. Mills Jr., of Union Township, who was killed in Afghanistan on May 26, 2011, will also speak at the “Final Salute to America’s Soldiers.”

“I think this is a great event for everybody,” said Mills, 28 of Union. “It helps keep us mindful of the things that are going on and that these are not just names on a wall, but they’re people. They’re lives. And those people have a family and their death affects so many people.”

Mills said he plans to talk about why his brother made the sacrifices he did, as well as how God has given him and his family strength while grieving their loss.

“This really is an opportunity to show our support to our military,” Crum said. “It’s easy to forget about them, to think about what’s going on overseas and the hurt that is over there. We don’t think about them as often as we should.

“But we don’t want them to think they’re paying a price for nothing. We don’t want them to think they’re alone. We who enjoy the goodness and fruit of their work should not forget about those warriors.”

(Email: [email protected])

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