Tuesday, Nov. 20 was a day of dual purpose for the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Association (DCVMA). It was the date of the monthly meeting, but in order to update members on events of the year and The Wall That Heals, Commander Bernie Holstine waived the standard business agenda and the evening program went straight to current activity results.
The Thanksgiving meal, which also served as the appreciation dinner, was catered by Rosie Jo’s Restaurant, in Ozark. The dinner included turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls and dessert. Almost 100 people attended the dinner along with several guests and sponsors of The Wall.
The evening program began with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer. After everyone was served, the program began with introduction and recognition of the guests.
Mayor David Norman and council members Burrely Loftin and Stan Lovan were present and recognized for the assistance and guidance provided by the City of Ava during the planning and hosting stage of The Wall.
Mayor Norman presented the Proclamation from the City which designated Saturday, Sept. 22 as The Wall That Heals day in Ava. Mayor Norman also presented a Proclamation from Governor Parson that recognized the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Association and their work in the community. It also noted how the group served the community by bringing The Wall to Ava, and attracting over 20,000 visitors during its tenure in Ava.
Walmart Manager Roger Sleeman and Assistant Manager Kyra Caverly presented details about the program supported by Walmart associates, a program that includes local non-profit groups that benefit the entire community. The Walmart corporate program combines the number of volunteers and number of hours those volunteers commit to a program in order to raise funds to support the project. On this occasion, Walmart associates and management supported The Wall by volunteering to help set up as well as dismantle and load The Wall on the truck. By getting other area Walmart store associates and management personnel involved the program raised $4,000, and Vice Commander Butch Linder accepted the check that evening.
Lastly, the DCVMA conducted a raffle to give away a $17,000 Can-Am side by side RTV.
Assisted by Can-Am Power Sports in Springfield, DCVMA members sold raffle tickets to pay for the side by side and to help cover costs of hosting The Wall. The winner, when notified of his good fortune, came to Ava and visited with post members to get a more clear understanding of how we serve the community. After consideration, he opted to donate the side by side back to DCVMA to assist with activities of the post. Consequently, a public auction was held Saturday, Nov. 10 and the high bid of $10,000 was accepted. A check for $10,000 was written to DCVMA and presented during the appreciation dinner.
Recognition was also given to the Douglas County Herald and KKOZ Radio station for their outstanding coverage of the event and assistance in helping spread the word about The Wall coming to Ava. Without them, the event would not have been nearly as successful.
The DCVMA wants to also acknowledge the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed association for access and use of their facility.
The DCVMA is appreciative of every sponsor, business, and individual who contributed their support in bringing The Wall to Ava, either with a financial contribution or by working at The Wall.
Volunteers included the 85 who helped erect and dismantle The Wall, as well as the 150-plus who worked 24 hours a day during open exhibit time at the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association facility.
“We have other major projects planned for the coming years and we cannot announce them yet,” states Bernie Holstine, commander. “But, believe me, they will all definitely be beneficial to Ava and Douglas County.”