On March 10, the Veterans Breakfast Club held its last face-to-face event of 2020. Later that week, COVID-19 shut down our in-person veterans storytelling programs.

But before March was over, we were back at it, holding our events virtually on Zoom and simulcast on Facebook Live and YouTube Live.

Since then, we’ve held 87 live virtual programs with thousands of people participating, including those across the country and the world. We’ve heard stories from people of all eras, ages, and branches of service, from a 100-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor to a fresh West Point graduate. Non-veterans, including elementary school and college students, have joined us to ask questions and to listen. Gold Star Mothers and Families have remembered their loved ones with us, so we could remember them too.

The virtual world is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. But we have, with these video conferencing platforms, been able to sustain and even expand the “Community of Listening” we first created back in 2008.

Over the past twelve years, we’ve heard thousands of veteran voices at our VBC programs. These voices carry the past into our present, bring to life fallen comrades and family members, and deliver to those who have the ears to listen a wisdom and perspective that can inspire future generations.

Of course, the pandemic has hurt the Veterans Breakfast Club financially, as it has for so many. The sponsorship revenue we depend on to survive has largely vanished. We look forward to recovering and growing in 2021.

Until then, we ask that you please help keep our veterans’ stories alive by donating now to the Veterans Breakfast Club. Every donation, no matter how small, will help ensure a bright future for the VBC.

At the VBC, every veteran has a story and every day is Veterans Day. Even if you cannot contribute, please attend a virtual event. Because the best way to thank a veteran is to listen.

Todd DePastino, Executive Director

There is a vast community of Veterans living in Western Pennsylvania, and now as a result of the VBC they are connected with one another. I marvel at what the VBC has created and am proud to be a part of it. Every time I attend VBC Live, I come away better educated. One meeting focused upon the role of the Coast Guard. Another highlighted serving in the Red Cross. Marines talked about their dedication to the Corps. If we piece these different stories together, we begin to see a larger picture of our history that is still unfolding. Each person possesses a page of our Great History Book, and the pages are being put together by the VBC.

Roland Glenn, WWII Army Infantry Officer, 7th Division, Okinawa and Korea
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