(Posted Aug. 4, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Each year, members of Madison County Chapter 93 of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) accept monetary donations in exchange for blue fabric flowers with yellow centers. This year, members will be stationed at Walmart on Lafayette Street in London, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 10-12.
The flowers come with a message: “Forget-Me-Not,” in honor of veterans who served the country in times of war.
The annual Forget-Me-Not drive helps to fund free services for disabled veterans and their families. The services include filing claims for government benefits, resolving challenges involving employment, health care and counseling, and responding to emergency needs.
“The community wishes to express a deep and continuing sense of gratitude to those disabled veterans who gave so much to protect and preserve our way of life,” stated London Mayor Patrick Closser in a proclamation declaring August as Forget-Me-Not Month.
“The DAV has worked exclusively for the welfare of our disabled veterans,” stated a proclamation signed by the Madison County commissioners denoting Aug. 10-12 as Forget-Me-Not Days.
Twenty percent of the donations collected during the drive go to the Fisher House Foundation to operate a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving medical treatment. The other 80 percent goes to local food pantries and the Rocking Horse Community Health Center in London.
“The bulk of the money stays right here in the county,” said Dave Beekman, Chapter 93 commander.
Beekman noted that the chapter is gaining active membership and doing good things in the community. He said one challenge, though, is finding locations at which they can hold the Forget-Me-Not drive. Many corporate policies don’t permit such solicitations anymore, he said.
Madison County Commissioner David Dhume encouraged any local businesses willing to allow the DAV to use their sites for the annual drive to call the Madison County Veteran Services at (740) 852-0676.
The first DAV Forget-Me-Not drive was held in 1926 to raise funds for services and assistance for veterans of World War I.
To learn more about DAV Chapter 93, call Eugene Reed at (740) 852-2747.