Saturday will provide an opportunity for the community to say thank you and pay tribute to the men and women who have served America in the Armed Forces.
The 12th annual Veteran’s Appreciation Barbecue will be hosted from 3 to 6 p.m. in the city parking lot on Second and Ohio Ave. south of the VFW Post 2591 building.
“We are very pleased and happy that we are able to host this event once again for our veteran’s,” Jim Gaertner said. “We say it is for the veterans but we really want the entire community to know that this is an opportunity for all to come and say thank you.
“Our hope that many individuals will attend and come out and support a really great cause,” he added.
Gaertner explained that all of the money raised from the event is donated to the Central Missouri Veteran’s Home in Warrensburg to pay for materials and supplies for the residents.
“A portion of the funds are used for gifts for the residents on special occasions such as their birthdays and holidays,” Gaertner said. “The money is also used to purchase amenities such as coffee and ice cream for the residents to enjoy.
“When we first came up with the idea to host the event we thought it would just be a one-time thing,” he added. “We found out rather quickly after we didn’t have the barbecue the next year that we had a lot of upset people on our hands so it has become an annual event every year since then.”
Former Sedalia mayor Bob Wasson and Gaertner came up with the idea for the barbecue in 2004 as a way to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day.
“The 60th anniversary of D-Day (June 6th) fell on a Saturday in 2004 and so we thought a barbecue would be a way we could recognize our area veterans,” Gaertner said. “There were more World War II veterans alive then and we wanted to bring them together.
“Some of the men had hit the beaches at Normandy and one of the men who came had jumped behind enemy lines and told his story,” he added. “We don’t have many more of those how served in WWII with us anymore.”
Ret. Brig. Gen. Dennis Shull of the Missouri Army National Guard will be the guest speaker at the event.
A native of the Hughesville area, Shull volunteered for active duty after his retirement and served in Afghanistan according to Gaertner.
The Lee Stover Band will also perform throughout the afternoon.
“We really hope that we will have a good turnout,” Gaertner said. “It truly is a community event that is a way to honor and support those who have served.”
The meals for veterans will be provided at no cost.
The cost of meals for guests to the event is $5 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.