By Larry Morrison
2019 is already shaping up to be a busy year for the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Association. In addition to new projects planned for the year, DCVMA members are still putting finishing touches on 2018 projects.
DCVMA sponsored 31 projects in 2018 that provided support to Ava and Douglas County. Their three fold purpose of supporting veterans and their families, senior citizens and underprivileged children takes the lead role in all their activities. However, the DCVMA is not restricted to that purpose.
The DCVMA provided breakfast to over 2500 individuals in 2018. Since they own a van, they are able to provide free transportation to the doctor or VA medical facilities for several who do not have transportation or other means of traveling to the doctor.
The DCVMA averages over two trips per week taking individuals to the doctor.
Also as part of the outreach, DCVMA provides three food baskets to families in Douglas County. The school nurses selects the families to receive the baskets. Baskets are provided to three families at Thanksgiving, with an additional three families selected for Christmas.
The baskets include a 20-pound turkey, 10-pound ham, all the side veggies, a dozen rolls, pies, ice cream, a gallon of milk, and half gallon chocolate milk, and three two-liter bottles of soda. The turkey and ham are cooked and hot when the families go to Town and Country Super Market to pick it up.
For privacy, only school nurses know which families have been selected.
In addition, DCVMA hosted 25 Thursday Night Music programs and gave away over 250 door prizes.
Each year on the third Saturday in May, we sponsor a Victory run with over 100 motorcyclists participating and provide over 250 meals and drinks during the veteran’s appreciation luncheon.
Perhaps the largest event in 2018 was when the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Association, hosted The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter size replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC. Being the only location in Missouri and Arkansas to host The Wall, the site attracted over 20,000 visitors, and many businesses and restaurants in Ava were recipient of a huge increase in business during the week. Veterans are now putting the final touches on 2018 by distributing flags and certificates to sponsors of The Wall. In addition, gold sponsors will also receive a banner which is currently being printed. Businesses will receive those banners at a later date.
Kicking off 2019, the DCVMA elected new officers during the January meeting. The officers are: President – Butch Linder; Senior Vice President – Dean Downs; 1st Junior Vice President – Irvin Reynolds; 2nd Junior Vice President – Dave Frohman; Secretary – Thelma Martin; and Treasurers – Doris Haynes and Alice Downs. The new officers will be sworn in at the February meeting and officially take office in March. There is also a six person advisory board, and those individuals are not elected but appointed by the incoming president.
Bernie Holstine, the outgoing DCVM president says “We have had a terrific year. I am honored to have served with all these people as the commander. I appreciate each of them and all the businesses that have supported us. I will now step down and resume my responsibilities as a member volunteer. The Association has several activities planned for 2019, and Butch will announce those after he becomes president, but trust me, they are exciting and will reach the entire Ava and Douglas County Community. The DCVMA is well over 200 members and growing every month. I welcome everyone reading this to come down and check us out and consider becoming a part of a fast moving, forward thinking and volunteer supported group like the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Association. We are located at 402 West Washington, across from the post office.”