Area veterans honored by Philadelphia officials as part of Vet Fest

Philadelphia City Hall’s Vet Fest kicked off Wednesday and it was an afternoon of ceremonies and celebrations to honor the sacrifices of veterans. They were treated to a sweet surprise – a bike giveaway.

The sentiments of well-deserving veterans getting their pick of brand-new bikes – 200 hundred of them gifted at the city’s Vet Fest in partnership with Ocean State Job Lot.

The 2024 Vet Fest is hosted by City Council President Kenyatta Johnson and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Veteran Affairs.

"Today is about letting them know they are honored and we support them and we thank them for their service," Johnson explained.

Service that extends itself as a "thank you" to the thousands of veterans in the City of Philadelphia.

For Shanda Taylor-bond, a veteran herself, these acts of kindness are life-changing.

"I just wanna say kudos to the Philadelphia Department of Veterans Affairs and to the VA here, because you are enhancing life. You are giving life. You are empowering warriors," she said.

"So, these bikes are going to good use?" asked FOX 29’s Shaynah Ferreira.

"Very good use!" Marine veteran George Perez replied.

The smaller bikes are also for kids, grandkids and, in this case, great grands of veterans.

Perez, stated, "This is for my great-granddaughter. She’s four-years-old and I want to see if she can ride and, if not, I’ll teach her how to ride it."

Perez served back in the 1950s and says it feels good to know the vets and their families are not forgotten. "A lot of veterans in Philadelphia don’t get the honor they deserve."

A grandson of a vet ran in, making sure he got dibs on a cool ride.

The excitement and smiles on full display at City Hall as many walked away with the gift that makes all the difference in their daily lives.