Shell Factory shows veterans appreciation at annual ‘Nam Jam’

The Shell Factory & Nature Park in North Fort Myers held its annual “Nam Jam” event Sunday, honoring Vietnam veterans and all veterans in attendance.

The event served as a salute to those who sacrificed for our country more than 50 years ago.

“We lost a lot of men up there,” said Terry Smith, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam. “But we did our job.”

Veteran John Brassen, who served with the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, said time on active duty transcends the in-person experience.

“It was only for a year, and you come back,” Brassen said. “That year probably lasts for the rest of your life.”

The “Nam Jam” celebration at Shell Factory celebrates veterans from all wars. But it focuses especially on Vietnam veterans. And all veterans receive a day of free food, drinks, entertainment and fun.

Half of the proceeds from the “Nam Jam” raffle goes toward helping the Southwest Florida Military Museum in Cape Coral. And event organizers said they look forward to continuing the event for years to come.

“We want them to know that we love them,” General Manager Anne Sheridan said. “We thank them, and we haven’t forgotten about them.”

It’s something Vietnam veterans appreciate after the sour homecoming many received during wartime.

“When we got home, the anti-war sentiment was not that great,” Smith said. “I took my uniform, and I got rid of it. And I never put it on again.”

But now Smith and veterans are able to stand proud.

“I bless every moment of events like this to see my brothers in combat and brothers in arms loving our country as much as I do,” said veteran Bill Eggers, who served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam and is decorated soldier with six presidential medals.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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