Harrison County

Friday’s pier walk will honor veterans and help the needy

Veterans are honored at a past tribute at Ken Combs Pier in Gulfport.
Veterans are honored at a past tribute at Ken Combs Pier in Gulfport. Courtesy

The annual Veterans Day Pier Walk at Ken Combs Pier in Gulfport is more than just a tribute to veterans — it’s an opportunity to help many receive a holiday meal.

Friday’s pier walk is one of two fundraisers held yearly at Ken Combs Pier. The Veterans Day walk starts at 4 p.m.

“Our event on Earth Day benefits Feed My Sheep and our event on Veterans Day benefits Gulf Coast Public Safety Feed the Needy, organizer Ken Combs Jr. said. “Feed My Sheep is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas, so Feed the Needy steps in and offers a meal to those who need one on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.”

Combs said the Gulfport Police Department is the lead agency involved with Feed the Needy. Police Chief Leonard Papania will deliver the opening remarks at the pier walk.

“We will probably deliver about 1,800-2,000 meal this year,” Papania said. “These are for anyone that needs a meal on Thanksgiving and we will deliver them to everyone who needs them delivered.”

Feed the Needy was founded in 1989 by Combs’ father, former Gulfport Mayor Ken Combs Sr., as the Harrison County Volunteers to Feed the Needy. It was started when George Payne was Gulfport chief.

“This is not only an opportunity to honor memories of our loved ones by helping others,” Combs said. “It’s an opportunity to honor all of our first responders by helping them in their efforts to nourish the less fortunate in our community.”

After the ceremony concludes, a walk will be held along the pier and a bonfire on the beach.

If you are interested in receiving a meal on Thanksgiving Day, call 228-868-5900. Papania said he recommends ordering the meals by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21.