Steve Crecy, who served two years in the Army during the Vietnam War, may have said it best  — “We know we did our jobs as soldiers right.”

Crecy was surely the caliber of veteran the organizers had in mind when they planned the annual Vet Fest, which returned to Manhattan Beach on Sunday, Nov. 10.

Kinnecta Federal Credit Union and the Manhattan Beach Rotary Club launched the event last year, with the proceeds going to two veterans organizations, Team Rubicon and UCLA Operation Mend.

“This is a great feeling for me to be able to do this for our veterans and show them our appreciation,” said Dr. Chris Ullman, a Vietnam veteran himself, who came up with the idea.

Such veterans as Crecy insist that no such thanks are necessary — but were grateful nonetheless for the afternoon-long tribute.

“We were proud to serve our nation,” he said, “and to be honored today here is over-the-top amazing.”

““It gives people an opportunity to get together and have a good time for a good cause,” said Tim Hageman, a Rotary member and Manhattan Beach police captain, who noted the event also honored law enforcement and other first responders.

Midway through the event, a lone musician played “Taps” in memory of veterans who gave their lives in service to the nation.

The Mira Costa High School drum line accompanied the band Yachty by Nature in playing the fight songs of the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines — as members who served in each branch stood and were greeted with a rousing ovation from the 1,000 or so folks in attendance.

The day featured barbecue treats provided by Grandma’s Kitchen Catering, beers from 15 different local breweries and a “cornhole” tournament with cash prizes.

The event also had some “royalty” in attendance — ex-L.A. Kings hockey star Daryl Evans. “It is an honor and privilege for me to come here today to meet and talked to some of the veterans and their families and thank them for their sacrifices,” Evans said.

“Veterans are near and dear to my heart because I come from a military family,” said Kinnecta Federal Credit Union CEO Keith Sultemeier, whose father and father-in-law served in World War II. “Veteran’s Day was an obvious choice for me to help give back to the community.”

The veterans on hand were were, of course, delighted.

“I really enjoyed my time in the military,” L.J. “Bud” Orlando, who served in the Air Force for 12 years before retiring as a lieutenant colonel, “and it is really nice to see people honor us veterans.”

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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