ST. LOUIS – The 39th Annual St. Louis Regional Veterans Day Observance in downtown St. Louis paid tribute to those who have served ahead of the holiday.

The Veterans Day Observance Parade on Saturday was preceded by the St. Patrick Center’s 7th Annual Veterans Day 5K Run and Walk, a fundraiser to help homeless vets.

“We get a two-fer today, right? We get to honor our veterans and also support St. Patrick Center, who’s trying to help veterans, especially around homelessness issues,” said Bob Olwig, a St. Patrick Center Board Member.

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The St. Patrick Center is a nonprofit established in 1983. It aims to fight homelessness in the City of St. Louis and the surrounding areas.

“At Patrick Center, about 1 in 4 people who walk through the door are veterans. We serve a large array of veterans and their families coming back into society,” said Anthony D’Agostino, CEO of St. Patrick Center “We have a disproportionate number of veterans who are unhoused and homeless.”

The St. Patrick Center was able to raise more than $150,000 to fight veteran homelessness.

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“Veterans are the reasons we have our freedoms. Veterans sacrifice everything for us, and they’re the reasons we have this country and this community the way it is,” said D’Agostino. “And we oftentimes don’t give them the treatment that they oftentimes deserve.”

The event was put on by the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, which is operated by the Missouri Historical Society. The City of St. Louis and the Veterans Day Observance Planning Committee also assisted with event planning.