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How one veteran in Wakulla County is working to recognize other veterans and first responders

This Saturday is the Inaugural Wakulla County Freedom Fest Variety Show
Posted at 11:37 AM, Nov 08, 2023
  • A new event in Panacea is celebrating and honoring veterans and first responders.
  • This Saturday is the inaugural Wakulla County Freedom Fest Variety Show at Panacea Community Center.
  • Watch the video to see what you'll find at the celebration.


In honor of Veterans Day, this Saturday is the Inaugural Wakulla County Freedom Fest Variety Show at Panacea Community Center.

The event is featuring four musicians, a comedian and a naturalist who is bringing exotic animals.

They are all military veterans and first responders.

Steven Brown organized this event.

"You know people say it's automatic when you say you're a veteran thank you for your service but even more so than that to understand a little bit about us some of us are musicians and singers and actors and so forth."

He's served 16 years in the US Navy. He's performing at the event and says he hopes it will entertain and give thanks to other vets, families, friends and the community.

I looked at the U.S. Census Bureau. It says in 2021 there were 2,798 veterans in Wakulla County. Brown says music is a good way to bring people together.

"Veterans are especially when we start singing patriotic songs veterans tend to be more invested in that because they have that in-ate quality of patriotism."

Military veterans aren't the only ones who will be recognized this weekend.

First responders will also be part of the gathering.

"First responders don't often get the credit but especially the dispatchers we are the first responders a lot of times there are calls that will trigger us people can get PTSD from and it's a really tough job."

Nicholas Petryk is a former 911 dispatcher. He is a naturalist educator and will be bringing his exotic animals. He hopes the music and animals can make the veterans feel good.

"If they've come in with past experiences or things that they haven't been able to quite get over or cope with or maybe they never will at least coming out here and getting to spend time with their brothers in the military or see these things it gets their mind off of it even if it's one night it could be the heat might of their entire year."

Petryk is looking forward to this event.

"It feels really good to know that we're recognized as a part of the community."

The inaugural Wakulla County Freedom Fest Variety Show is this weekend from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $10 for veterans and children.