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Friday, May 6, 2016

Alton VFW holds 2nd annual fundraiser

Friday, June 29, 2012

Members of the Alton community volunteered their time for the VFW benefit held Saturday, June 16. Photo by Kim Bray [Order this photo]
A special event last year to respond to an emergency in Alton has turned into an annual event to help the community -- as the Alton VFW Post #1014 held its second annual Benefit Fair and Fundraiser on Saturday, June 16.

Chris Johnston, Post 1014 Commander, said the event started last year to raise money for damages that had occurred during a fire at the VFW building.

"It was a big success and so it was something we decided to make an annual event," said Johnston. The money raised this year will be used towardveteran services programs."

Johnston continued, "We did it as a necessity last year to get our bills back in line and, this year, we decided to do this as a community fundraiser since we are back better than ever now."

Support for the fundraiser, which consisted of a motorcycle run, a barbeque dinner with music and vendors, came from all over the state of Missouri.

Other posts and the Ladies Auxiliary helped out.

The vendors who set up booths at the event were not charged, but donated some of their earnings to the VFW.

Johnston said the post raised approximately $1,100.

The True Country Band, volunteered to play and took only a small donation to help with its expenses.

Ron Cowens, of Alton, is a member of the Alton VFW Post and True Country Band.

The bike show and run was sponsored and organized by the Blue Iron Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.

There were 45 participants and each paid a $10 registration fee.

Lisa Schuster took home the bike show trophy.

The VFW of Alton sponsors two other service programs throughout the year. One program consists of collecting hats of all kinds from the community.

The hats are part of the St. Jude Radio-a-thon at K-Kountry radio in February. Johnston said that over 1,100 hats were donated this past year.

The Ladies Auxiliary runs another program called "Ugly Quilts."

They make quilts from jeans, t-shirts, ties, socks, etc. and donate them to the VA Hospital in Poplar Bluff.

Approximately three dozen quilts have been taken already this year.

The Alton VFW meets the first Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Johnston encouraged all veterans in the area to attend these meetings.

"Any veteran that has served one day of active duty can come in and talk to me. You don't have to be associated with the VFW, and any veteran in the area is invited to come," said Johnston.

In addition to being the Commander of the Alton VFW, Johnston spent 21 years in the Navy, is the District 18 Commander for the state of Missouri and a National officer of the VFW.

"I retired from the Navy and am just happy to continue to serve" said Johnston.

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