New Madison Kiwanis free Veterans sausage sandwich huge success

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New Madison Kiwanis member Tony Ayette works the grill at weekend free Veterans sausage sandwinch days. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

GREENVILLE—The New Madison Kiwanis Club honored area Veterans with its famous Sausage Sandwiches on Friday and Saturday at the Great Darke County Fairgrounds, thanks to the Darke County Agriculture Society.

New Madison Kiwanis member and Vietnam Veteran Russ Bennett (R) shares a moment with FMCA National Vice President Ken Lewis (L) at the weekend free Veterans sausage sandwich at the Great Darke County Fairgrounds. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

The event was open to the public. Veterans received a free sausage sandwich, and the public could purchase sandwiches and drinks. All proceeds went to the annual Darke County Veterans Services four-day Washington, D.C. trip.

“Thanks to the New Madison Kiwanis for once again giving away the sausage sandwiches for Veterans,” said Thomas Pitman, Director/CVSO Veterans Services Officer. “All the money they make goes towards the Washington DC trip, the sixth year the organization has donated to the trip. It is great to have the support from organizations in the county.”

A Darke County Vietnam Veteran receives a free sausage sandwich from the New Madison Kiwanis Club. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“We love doing this,” said New Madison Kiwanis member Tony Ayette. “We used to go out to the County Home, and when they closed, we had to have something else to do, so this is what we decided to do – do something for the Veterans.”

The Kiwanis sausage “trailer” was front and center in front of the grandstand in the same location used for the annual nine-day Great Darke County.

Ayette, the current oldest grill worker, tended to the Kiwanis grill as a steady line of customers passed through the line.

A Veteran takes his free Kiwanis sausage sandwich to a picnic table. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“Kenny Baker is our oldest member, but he doesn’t work the grill anymore,” said Ayette. “Paul Robbins is next; he doesn’t work the grill anymore, so I’m the oldest grill worker now.”

Ayette, a Kiwanis member since 1989, has been through the New Madison Kiwanis chairs and is a two-time past president of the organization.

“Once you become a member you learn to run the grill because only a member can run the grill,” Ayette noted. “I’ve been running it as long as I’ve been with Kiwanis.”

A steady line awaits to order New Madison Kiwanis sausage sandwich and a drink at weekend event at Great Darke County Fairgrounds. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Running the grill can be very hot, especially during the dog days of summer during the Great Darke County Fair.

“I passed out one year during the fair,” stated Ayette. “I had to be taken … I dehydrated. It was ninety-some degrees, so you must watch and be careful.”

For their annual camping event, the more than 200 FMCA Great Lakes Area RVs, including more than 400 campers at the fairgrounds, added to the successful weekend.