Pre-Veterans Day Parade activities include pancakes and banner walks

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TOPEKA (WIBW)- Gooey pancakes helped warm up a chilly morning in downtown Topeka, as folks gathered ahead of Veterans Day festivities.

HHB Barbecue hosted a pancake breakfast for veterans and their families.

For every meal purchased Saturday morning, there was one ready to give to the next veteran who walked in the door.

Members of the Military Veteran Project say pancakes are always a sure bet.

"It's a heck of a lot easier for the entire community to come out and support Veterans Day when we have activities that resonate with every age level," said Steve Ennis, President of the Board of Directors for MVP.

The Military Veteran Project (MVP) was on hand to help get veterans a stack of flap-jacks, and offer information about their mission to end military suicides.

Ennis says northeast Kansas is excellent at showing support for our nation's heroes, past and present -- and that Saturday's events have grown out of a small seed of an idea.

"Going back to that point of genesis six years ago - this didn't exist," said Ennis. "So that's something that this state and this community should be very proud of."

That support has also been visible along Kansas Avenue, in the form of veterans banners.

The banners were placed along the street in September, as part of a joint effort between the Military Relations Council, the City of Topeka, multiple downtown organizations, and MVP.

"Just to look at the faces, who have dedicated their lives... They've written that blank check. It gives me chills," says Kelly Uvanile, Secretary of the MVP Board and co-founder of Military Suicide Awareness.

This is the first year for the banner project, with 23 slots being filled, and it's expected to grow in the future.

The city of Topeka has 68 spaces downtown for more banners, which Ennis says only adds to Topeka's tradition of honoring those hometown heroes.

"We've seen that the Topeka downtown community has stepped up in a big way to make this day happen, and so we owe a debt of gratitude to say thanks to all the businesses who helped make this day possible," says Ennis.

You can learn more about the Military Veteran Project at militaryveteranproject.org.