By Lisa Rodgers


ROCKFORD- On Oct. 10, Bergstrom Inc. and The Salvation Army of Winnebago County cordial invite all area veterans, active military, their guests as well as the general public to attend Stars and Stripes: A Salute to Our Veterans from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the BMO Harris Bank Center located at 300 Elm St. in downtown Rockford.

Stars and Stripes: A Salute to Our Veterans will include performances from the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn Chorale, and the Salvation Army Brass Band. Music will be intermixed with ceremonial moments and programming designed to inspire a sense of pride, appreciation, and renewed fellowship and community among the audience of veterans.

Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) will be the keynote speaker at the event. Powell is a four-star general, has held numerous senior military and diplomatic posts across four presidential administrations including those of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Among his many U.S. military awards and decorations, Powell has received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart.

“Given The Salvation Army’s long-standing and well-known support of the United States military, as well as its rich history of service to our community, we are pleased to have their participation in the planning of this community-wide veterans’ event.

“We want to bring together the generations of veterans in the area, and those currently serving in our Armed Forces, for an evening of recognition and entertainment,” Dave Rydell, Chairman of Bergstrom Inc. said.

Since WWI where the Salvation Army served coffee and donuts in the trenches, the Salvation Army has had a presence in every conflict of war up to the present day Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.


Since 1917, when a cheerful Salvation Army lassie handed a fresh doughnut to a homesick doughboy in France, The Salvation Army doughnut has symbolized loving concern for those in the armed forces.
In 1917 young Helen Purviance, an ensign in the Salvation Army, was sent to France to work with the American First Division.

Putting her Hoosier ingenuity to work, she and a fellow officer, Ensign Margaret Sheldon, patted the first dough into shape by hand, but soon employed an ordinary wine bottle as a rolling pin. Since they had no doughnut cutter, the lassies used a knife to cut the dough into strips and then twisted them into crullers.

Ensign Helen Purviance and Crew: Inventors of the Doughnut as We Love It

Ensign Purviance…‘I was literally on my knees,’ she recalled, ‘when those first doughnuts were fried, seven at a time, in a small frypan. There was also a prayer in my heart that somehow this home touch would do more for those who ate the doughnuts than satisfy a physical hunger …’

Although the girls worked late into the night, they could serve only 150 doughnuts the first day. The next day, that number was doubled. A while later, when fully equipped for the job, they fried from 2,500 to 9,000 doughnuts daily, as did other lassies along the frontline trenches.

After several soldiers asked, ‘Can’t you make a doughnut with a hole in it?’ Ensign Purviance had an elderly French blacksmith improvise a doughnut cutter by fastening the top of a condensed milk can and camphor-ice tube to a wooden block. Later, all sorts of other inventions were employed, such as the lid from a baking powder can or a lamp chimney to cut the doughnut, with the top of a coffee percolator to make the hole…

Today Salvation Army Red Shield Clubs and USO units offer members of the Armed Forces a variety of services, ranging from attractive recreational facilities to family counseling — but the famous doughnut remains a perennial favorite,” according to

Bergstrom Inc. is proud to sponsor this event which is free of charge to all veterans throughout the Rockford region and their guests as well as the general public.

To make reservations or for more information about the event, veterans are encouraged to visit or call (800) 254-9767 at their earliest convenience to assure their reservation.

Deadline for reservations is Oct. 9 with veterans’ taking precedence. Reserved tickets will be at the box office the night of the event.

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