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DJ's Dugout monument shows support for veterans

Posted at 7:17 PM, Nov 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-11 11:36:51-05

A monument on a hill in Bellevue – placed there so people flying into Offutt Air Force Base could see it from the sky – brought two business together to show support for those who have and continue to server our country.

"We wanted to make sure it got noticed. It's very important to us that the veterans and the current service people -- know they're appreciated. We wanted something that would stand out a little bit," John Hassett, owner of Bellevue Keno.

The idea to create a symbolic permanent 'thank you' for troops was thought out by the two owners of DJ’s Dugout, and Bellevue keno.

"It's a great reminder when I drive in to see it up there, to support our troops, not just current troops but also past troops," Darwin Hanssen, DJ’s owner and Vietnam veteran.

Hanssen said the monument is dedicated in part to Vietnam veterans, who didn't have the warmest welcome when they came back from war.

"I remember when we came back, we had to take off our uniforms off before we flew home because of the ridicule and all the people that were against it and really against us, we felt,” Hanssen said. “There were no parades, and we were almost ashamed to admit that we were in Vietnam and now times have changes and we're now at least getting some recognition."

Like Anthony Ray, an Air Force and Army Vietnam veteran who goes to DJ's almost daily.

"Just beautiful. When John came to me with the paper work on it, and talked to me about it,” Ray said. “I was so fascinated that they would even think to do something like this."

Hassett says they hope veterans know, Bellevue is a welcoming place for them.

“I hope they feel welcome here because they certainly are,” he said. "I hope some of the pilots will maybe stop by and say hey I saw your sign from up in the sky -- that would be so cool."