Cognizant of current COVID-19 social restrictions, a Charleston church has found an innovative, automotive approach to honor military service in a singularly 2020 fashion on Veterans Day.
Bible Center School at 1111 Oakhurst Drive in Charleston will host a drive-thru celebration for all of those who served — or still serve — in the U.S. military. The celebration is scheduled to take place from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11.
During that time, veterans and other guests are invited to enter the BCS campus, across from Ashton Place along U.S. 119/Corridor G, at Angel Terrace and proceed to the BCS parking lot. There, BCS students will cheer for and salute them from socially distanced spots.
A tent will be erected on the parking lot, to collect clothing and other donations to help local veterans in need, as well.
“Veterans Day has always been a huge celebration at Bible Center School,” BCS Principal Stephanie Schafer said. “The students, faculty and staff, parents, and community look forward to an annual grand performance at Bible Center Church to honor our local veterans.”
COVID-19 presented new logistical challenges to continuing the school’s yearly tribute. “With the absence of our traditional program in this COVID season, we began brainstorming alternatives,” Schaefer said. “The question quickly shifted from what we should do to why. Why do we even have this massive Veterans Day program at our school every year? What was its purpose to begin with?
“The answer was that it was meant to be something that served them — these men and women who have served so many others. So, how could we best serve our veterans now?
“We narrowed it down to two things. Let’s show them honor with a drive-thru celebration where the students cheer at the top of their lungs and let’s serve them by donating items that they will use in their everyday lives.”
BCS officials contacted the Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center, a nonprofit organization in Charleston that provides emergency shelter, transitional, and permanent supportive housing to those experiencing homelessness, including veterans.
“We had a conversation about what their needs are now and how we could help,” Schaefer explained. “We are accepting donations of cold-weather items, blankets, and personal hygiene items.
“Students will line the parking lot, waving flags, cheering, waving, and holding signs thanking any veteran who drives through that day. At the end of the drive-thru, we will load up the donations and drive them straight downtown to Roark-Sullivan,” the principal said.
Schaefer added that this year’s revised celebration format will create civic dividends that were not a part of preceding celebrations.
“As much as we love and value our programs at Bible Center and the traditions that we have enjoyed over the years on Veterans Day, we are not mourning the loss of it this year,” she said. “We have the opportunity to meet real needs of real people in a different way — literally next door in our own city and we’re so excited to be a part of that. BCS takes its role in our community seriously as we give back through education, service, and growing students who learn to value their community. We are excited to honor our guests and fill our bus with donations for our local heroes.”
For additional information regarding the drive-thru Veterans Day program, visit www.biblecenterschool.com or call 304-941-1704.