GREENSBORO, NC -- "Building bridges and engaging veterans" -- the motto of Triad-based 'American Heroes for North Carolina' played out on center stage at the second-annual Veterans Recognition Banquet Thursday.

Living proof of service, sacrifice and honor were the 33 Triad World War II veterans in attendance. They were among the more than 300 veterans who gathered at the Koury Convention Center in the pre-Veterans Day celebration.

American Heroes for North Carolina (AH4NC) is a 501c3 non-profit founded by veterans for veterans. President Jim Hoffman explained AH4NC helps North Carolina's large population of veterans and their families live, work and play in the Triad community.

"The banquet highlights veterans who have served their country honorably and who have returned to our community to lead successful business careers," Hoffman said.

Good Morning Show co-anchor Meghann Mollerus was the mistress of ceremonies for the second year, and she felt honored and humbled to be in the presence of so many heroes.

AH4NC selected three Triad supporters of veterans to receive special awards, presented by the mayors of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem.

The Freedom Award -- for an entrepreneurial company led by a veteran who served in the military with honor -- went to Brady Services.

The Liberty Award -- for a longtime company with a successful record of hiring veterans -- went to HAECO Americas.

The Patriot Award -- for an individual who served in the military with honor and distinction and has greatly impacted the veteran community -- went to Bill Moss, the founder of the War Memorial Foundation and the Carolina Field of Honor.

AH4NC recognized Korea veteran Harry Thetford, who has spent decades interviewing World War II veterans in his community and compiling their accounts into a book, appropriately named -- Keep Their Stories Alive. Thetford's work and mission will be featured in a special story airing this Sunday, Veterans Day, on WFMY News 2 at 11.

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Harry Thetford and his wife Martha sign the 'Keep Their Stories Alive' book, featuring accounts of more than 100 Triad-area World War II veterans.
Good Morning Show anchor Meghann Mollerus, the mistress of ceremonies, ,smiles with a WWII veteran at the banquet.